Bloomberg News

Saleh Won’t Leave Yemen Unless Treated as President, Party Says

January 01, 2012

Jan. 1 (Bloomberg) -- The political party of Yemen’s outgoing president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, says he won’t leave for medical treatment in the U.S. unless he is guaranteed respect worthy of his title, a senior aide of Saleh said yesterday.

Ahmed al-Sufi said senior leaders of the General People’s Congress and government officials decided that unless the U.S. deals with Saleh as president until a vote to name his successor is held on Feb. 21, he should stay in Yemen.

“If they do not deal with him with due respect, we believe this is a humiliation to the Yemeni people,” al-Sufi said in a telephone interview.

Saleh was supposed to leave for the U.S. for treatment of wounds he sustained during an assassination attempt in June.

Medical care can be provided to Saleh in Yemen, al-Sufi said. He said Saleh’s presence in Yemen is needed to guard against “any sort of delay or lingering in the implementation of the Gulf initiative,” a reference to the power-transfer agreement he signed in November.

That stand appears to be at odds with Saleh’s comments a week ago, when he said he would leave Yemen to “allow the unity government to prepare properly for elections.” The Associated Press reported yesterday that Mohammed al-Shayekh, a leading member of the People’s Congress Party, said Saleh has decided to stay.

Saleh has warned about the possible collapse of state institutions. Strikes by industrial workers, students and soldiers have followed the formation of the unity government set up under the transition agreement brokered by the United Nations and other Gulf nations, the state Saba news agency has reported.

Opposition Party

Al-Sufi accused the General People’s Congress’s partner in the unity government, the opposition Joint Meeting Parties, of stirring up the public dissent. Mohammed al-Sabri, a senior leader in the opposition party, said in a telephone interview that what’s happening is “an uprising against corruption and oppression as well as abuse of the employees’ rights. The JMP has nothing to do with these uprisings.”

Hundreds of soldiers and officers protested yesterday in the southern city of Taiz, demanding the dismissal and trial of senior security and military commanders whom they accuse of killing dozens of protesters, Farouk Ahmed, a witness, said in a telephone interview.

--Editors: Laurence Arnold, Christian Thompson.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mohammed Hatem in Dubai at mhatem1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden at barden@bloomberg.net


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