Saturday, April 9, 2011

In Yemen, President Saleh rejects regional mediation

The president challenged Yemen, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has rejected an offer of mediation from the Arab Gulf monarchies, Friday, April 7, during a brief speech before thousands of his supporters in Sanaa, according to state television. Tens of thousands of Yemenis participated in two important events in the city of Sana'a: one calling for the resignation of President Saleh and the other supporting him.

The pro-regime demonstrators gathered in Tahrir Square and chanted slogans in praise of the Yemeni president, strongly disputed since late January. "No, he will not leave," had one of the many banners in the camp of the president. University Square, a few miles away, protesters continued to demand the departure of head of state.

"Go, Ali," was the slogan as accepted by the crowd. No incidents were recorded during these two events. The first was held under the slogan "Day of firmness" and the second under that of "Day of the agreement." The principle of mediation of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), to resolve the crisis in Yemen, had been initially accepted by a government minister.

The opposition had also accepted the offer, while requiring that these negotiations lead to the departure of President. But President Saleh was then publicly dismissed, saying it was "a flagrant interference in internal affairs of Yemen." "We were born free, and we are free to decide," he said, repeating that he was ready to hand, but through an orderly transition before 2012.

The GCC countries - Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait - are extremely worried about instability in Yemen. The Saudi kingdom, in particular, has offered to host on its territory any negotiations between the Yemeni regime and the opposition.

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