Sanaa (Xinhua): Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on March 25 reiterated his call for the opposition to come to conciliation talks, holding them responsible for “every drop of blood that has been or would be shed in this conflict.”
“We have been repeating calls to them (opposition) by all means to come into political dialogue, and today I reiterate the call to them in order to peacefully transfer the power,” Saleh told a meeting of senior commanders of army and security forces in the capital Sanaa, aired by the state television.
“I invite youths to come for dialogue and to propose their viewpoint, I call on them to form a political party rather than being misled by leaders of the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties,” he added.
Saleh, who is facing a deadlock with opposition and youths-led street protests, made the remarks on the eve of the planned mass demonstration dubbed “Friday of Saleh’s Departure.”
“We will fulfill our responsibility and we will not be the first to assaults the people,” Saleh told the meeting, citing a threat made earlier this week by opposition’s spokesman Mohamed Qahtan, who vowed that there would be a massive march towards the presidential palace to oust Saleh on March 25.
The president also offered amnesty to army personnel who defected to the opposition after last Friday’s shooting that claimed the lives of 52 young protestors in Sanaa and geared up huge anger among large numbers of Saleh’s loyalists.
Hundreds of thousands of anti-government protestors rallied on Thursday in several major cities, including Sanaa, demanding immediate step down of Saleh.
Thousands of pro-governemnt tribesmen arrived from Abyan, Al- Dhalee, Taiz, Al-Bayda, Ibb, Hajja, Marib, Rayma and Amran to Sanaa to take part in a pro-Saleh rally on March 25, dubbed ” Friday of tolerance.”
Since earlier this year, Saleh has been exerting non-stop efforts to appease the continuing protests and opposition, the latest of which was Saleh’s approval on Wednesday to quit by the year’s end based on an initiative proposed earlier by the opposition.
An official, who is close to President Saleh, told Xinhua on condition of anonymity Thursday that the opposition is considering a peaceful compromise with Saleh.
Some organizers of the street protests in Sanaa told Xinhua that the leaders of the opposition told them to cancel “Friday’s march towards the presidential palace in Sanaa.”