World

Yemeni President Postpones Forming Unity Gov’t With Opposition Amid Unrest

SANAA (Xinhua): Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday postponed forming a joint unity government until reaching a reconciliation agreement with the opposition, the Defense Ministry reported through its mobile service.

Saleh on February 28 asked the opposition to form a unity government within the next 24 hours, calling on the opposition to submit names for ministerial posts, according to a government official. The opposition, however, has swiftly rejected Saleh’s offer, insisting the departure of the president.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Addressing the Media

A Yemeni leading female protester Tawakul Karman, who is also a prominent figure in the opposition Islamic Islah Party, told Xinhua that the anti-government protesters across the country rejected Saleh’s offer of forming a unity government with the opposition.

The decision was apparently affected by the mounting unrest that rattled Yemen’s capital Sanaa and major provinces. Four protesters were wounded in clashes with anti-riot police on Tuesday in the country’s western province of Al-Hodayda.

The president sacked Al-Hodayda governor Ahmed al-Jabali along with other four governors of Aden, Lahj, Abyan and Hadramout Tuesday, in a bid to ease the tensions there, according to state- run news agency Saba.

The ruling party staged Tuesday a rival rally of thousands of government backers in downtown Sanaa, showing support for Saleh and calling the opposition to resume dialogue with the ruling party to avoid further violence.

Just about four km away from downtown Sanaa, the opposition organized a “day of rage” rally of tens of thousands of anti- government protesters.

A Xinhua reporter said about 5,000 anti-government protesters went to Sanaa from Dhamar province, some 60 km south of Sanaa, to join the rallies.

Hamid al-Muraisi, one of the anti-government protesters outside a campus, told Xinhua that protesters insist on the departure of Saleh.

“I want to deliver a message to President Saleh to tell him that the people have given their word, so he should leave for the interest of the people and to refrain from bloodshed,” al-Muraisi said.

Provinces of Dhamar, Ibb, Taiz, Aden, Abyan, Shabwa, Al- Bayda and Hadramout also reportedly witnessed anti-government rallies.

Eyewitness Mohammed Kasim told Xinhua that about 10,000 anti- government protesters staged a sit-in in Ibb province.

Meanwhile, Saleh accused the United States and Israel of plotting unrest waves against the Arab world, including his nation.

“What happened in the Arab world is plotted by Israel and run by the White House through manipulating international media,” Saleh said at a press conference at Sanaa University.

“The spreading unrest from Tunisia to Oman was run by Tel Aviv under the supervision of Washington,” Saleh told reporters.

“Dialogue and ballot boxes are the only solution to the current situation in Yemen,” Saleh said.

Saleh pledged last month to quit office after his presidential term expires in 2013 and promised not to hand power to his son.

Inspired by the Egyptian protests, thousands of Yemenis staged daily anti-government protest rallies in the streets of major cities across the country since Feb. 11.

The president vowed on Saturday that he and the army forces would take “full responsibility” to protect the unity of the nation until the last drop of their blood, according to state-run Saba news agency.

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