Yemeni factions consider power transfer deal

Discussions to begin on how to ease President Saleh out of power

Topics: Yemen,

Yemeni factions consider power transfer dealAnti-government protestors, chant slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, June 12, 2011. (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)(Credit: AP)

Yemen’s acting president agreed on Monday with opposition parties to begin discussions on how to transfer power from the country’s embattled president, an opposition spokesman said.

The official, Abdullah Oubal, said the agreement provided for the opposition and President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ruling party to open a dialogue to find a way to ease Saleh out of office in accordance with proposals put forward by Yemen’s Gulf neighbors. Saleh has publicly accepted the proposals in the past, but has been evasive about implementing them.

Monday’s agreement may not end the country’s political impasse or prevent renewed clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and armed tribesmen opposed to his rule. However, it suggests that the acting president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, is exercising his constitutional powers despite the vast influence wielded by Saleh’s inner circle and family.

The meeting was the first between an alliance of opposition parties and Hadi, who has been Yemen’s acting president since Saleh left for Saudi Arabia on June 5 for medical treatment from wounds he suffered in an attack on his compound in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa.

A senior Yemeni official in the Saudi capital, where Saleh is hospitalized, said Tuesday that the president’s condition was stable but not improving. The official spoke to The Associated Press by telephone and on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

Monday’s meeting, thought to have been convened under Western pressure, took place at Hadi’s Sanaa residence, which witnesses said was surrounded by members of the special forces, an elite outfit led by Saleh’s son and one-time heir apparent, Ahmed.

Top ruling party officials Sultan al-Burkany and Ahmed Ben Daghr joined Hadi on the government side for the negotiations, according opposition spokesman Oubal.

Tensions remain between forces loyal to Saleh and armed tribesmen led by Sadeq al-Ahmar, a one-time ally of the president who switched sides in March to join protesters staging mass demonstrations to demand the president’s ouster.

The two sides fought fierce street battles in Sanaa in late May and early this month, causing extensive damage to several neighborhoods. Officials close to al-Ahmar said Monday that 100 of their fighters were killed and another 325 wounded in the fighting between May 23 and June 4.

In the capital Sanaa, news of the agreement between Hadi and the opposition appeared to have no immediate impact. Witnesses said troops loyal and opposed to Saleh have been significantly reinforced, with more checkpoints and plainclothes gunmen visible on the streets.

Beside the armed tribesmen, troops from the elite 1st Armored Division, whose commander mutinied and joined the protesters in March, have been squaring up in the capital against the presidential guard and the special forces, both under the command of the president’s son.

Airstrikes, meanwhile, targeted Muslim militants in control of a southern Yemeni town, killing three suspected extremists on Monday, military and medical officials said.

The massive anti-government protests which erupted across Yemen in February have weakened the central government. Militants — including suspected al-Qaida members — captured two southern towns in late May, fueling concerns that the terror group could take advantage of the chaos.

The Yemeni officials said the airstrikes struck Jaar, one of two militant-held towns in the province of Abyan. The other town is Abyan’s capital, Zinjibar.

The upheaval that has gripped Yemen since mid-February has left Saleh too preoccupied to focus on the fight against al-Qaida, and the United States has stepped up covert operations in Yemen with airstrikes and drone attacks targeting members of the terror network.

The recent U.S. operations come after a nearly yearlong pause in American airstrikes, which were halted amid concerns that poor intelligence had led to bungled missions and civilian deaths that were undercutting the goals of the secret campaign.

In Taiz, Yemen’s second-largest city, military officials said gunmen destroyed two tanks and six vehicles belonging to Saleh’s presidential guard. The tanks and vehicles were destroyed during fighting early Monday.

The officials in Abyan and Taiz spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>