Sana: Rashad al-Alimi, the head of Yemen’s newly formed Presidential Leadership Council, has pledged to work to end the country’s devastating conflict and achieve lasting peace.

On Thursday, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued a Republican decree handing all of his executive powers to the eight-member presidential leadership council and relieving his vice president, Ali Mohsin al-Ahmar, from his duties, Xinhua news agency reported.

“This council is a council of peace, not war, but it is also a council of defence, strength and unity, and its mission is to defend the sovereignty of the nation and its citizens,” Al-Alimi said in his first televised speech. Broadcast from Saudi Arabia on Friday.

After seven years of devastating internal conflict, he vowed to work with the other seven members of the Presidential Leadership Council to end the war and establish a comprehensive and immediate peace process.

He also promised to give priority to the national interests of the country and to work tirelessly to tackle all political, economic, social and security challenges.

“We will work without exception or discrimination to meet Yemen’s demands,” he said, urging the people of Yemen to support state institutions.

Al-Alimi is a well-known Yemeni official who has been serving as an advisor to Hadi since 2014 and has held several government positions, including minister of the interior.

The other seven members of the council include Adares Zubaidi, the head of the pro-separatist Southern Transitional Council, and Tariq Saleh, nephew of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

According to the Gulf Initiative on Yemen, Hadi was chosen to lead the troubled Arab country on February 25, 2012, after former President Saleh handed over power.