Sanaa: Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah
Saleh has said that 10 of his rivals among the country`s top
military commanders, politicians and tribal leaders must leave
the country with him for the sake of stability.
The new condition appears to be a way for Saleh to remain
longer in Yemen. His presence is blamed for much of the
Though Saleh transferred power to his vice president Abed
Rabbo Mansour Hadi last month after a yearlong uprising, he
has lingered on in Yemen.
In a statement yesterday, Saleh said "elements of the
Yemen crisis" must leave the country, based on a deal he
struck last year.
"It was agreed upon that all of them would give up power
for the sake of stability and security of Yemen," the
Saleh was referring to a meeting that took place in March
last year in Hadi`s house, during which Saleh proposed that he
and the rest of his opponents leave the country.
However, his proposal was not included in official
agreements he and the opposition parties signed, including the
US and Gulf-backed power transfer deal. The deal gave him
immunity from prosecution in return for stepping down.
The 10 include Saleh`s rivals, among them Gen Ali Mohsen
al-Ahmar, who defected to the rebels, Islamists and sons of
Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, leader of an anti-Saleh Hashid tribal
A government official said that Saleh
is trying "to foil the power transfer deal." The official
spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized
to speak to reporters.
Abdel-Hadi al-Azazi, one of the Yemen`s many young
protesters, commented on Saleh`s statement by saying, "This
man is a liar and plays with words. We are used to his tricks.
This is no surprise."
Saleh`s presence, along with top family members and
loyalists in the country`s most sensitive positions, has
contributed to the inability of the newly inaugurated
president to carry out reforms within the ranks of the
This has left parts of Yemen, especially in the south,
with a security vacuum which al Qaeda militants have exploited
over the past year, taking control of several towns.