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Shiite Rebels, Yemen’s President Reach Deal to End Standoff

Yemen Crisis: Gunfire Echoes Around Sanaa During Tense Stand-Off 0:49

Shiite rebels holding Yemen's president captive in his home reached a deal with the U.S.-backed leader Wednesday to end a violent standoff in the capital, the country's state news agency reported.

The agreement promised to give the rebel Houthi movement more say in the affairs of the Arab world's poorest country in exchange for the group removing its fighters from President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi's home, the SABA news agency said.

However, the late-night deal left unanswered who really controls the country and how much power is still held by Hadi, a key ally in U.S. efforts to battle Yemen's local al Qaeda branch. In the deal, the Houthis also agreed to release a top aide to Hadi that they had kidnapped in recent days.

SABA said the agreement included a clause that would answer the rebels' demands to amend the constitution and expand their representation in the parliament and in state institutions. It also included promises to ensure better representation for Yemen's southerners as well, the deal said. The agreement also calls on Hadi to shake up a commission tasked with writing a draft constitution to ensure bigger representation for the Houthis.

The Houthis, who took control of the capital in September, say they only want an equal share of power, while critics say that they prefer presence of Hadi as a symbolic leader while they keep a grip on power.

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— The Associated Press