Political Editor: The Majalla
on : Friday, 4 Jan, 2013
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Saleh Under Pressure to Leave Yemen

Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is under pressure to leave Yemen temporarily to allow for the smooth assembly of the National Dialogue

Yemen’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in February 2012, when he formally handed over power to his deputy. Source: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

LONDON/SANA’A, Asharq Al-Awsat—An official Yemeni source revealed that efforts are currently underway to convince former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave the country for a Gulf state, in an attempt to make room for the political transition process. The Yemeni official, who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, stressed that “the former president will not risk going to Italy, which has granted him an entry visa, due to the ease of his being prosecuted there, as well as fears of being assassinated in a country where the mafia are active.”

The Yemeni official added, “The former president needs to leave the country to undergo urgent medical surgery; however, efforts are underway to convince him to stay outside the country until the end of the transitional phase.”

The source also revealed that “the former president has received many offers attempting to persuade him to leave the country,” adding, “one Gulf state has presented an offer that may be the closest to his desires.”

The Yemeni official affirmed that, should the former president leave Yemen to reside in an as-yet-unnamed Gulf state, he will be obligated to adhere to certain conditions. He added that many ambassadors of states that sponsored the Gulf Initiative—which secured Saleh’s removal from power—are working to convince Saleh to leave the country to allow the political process in Yemen to move forward.

He added, “The former president is under pressure to leave the country on a temporary basis, particularly after he incited a crisis by announcing that he intends to lead his party’s bloc at the forthcoming National Dialogue. This is something that threatens this National Dialogue due to many parties refusing to participate should Saleh personally attend its sessions.”

Saleh relinquished power in February 2012 after almost a year of uprising against his regime following a Gulf-sponsored initiative. According to the official website of Saleh’s General People’s Congress Party, the former Yemeni president has delayed an overseas trip for medical treatment to lead his party’s delegation at the forthcoming National Dialogue.

In other news, the Yemeni defense and interior ministers appeared before Parliament to answer questions regarding security breaches and a series of assassinations that have targeted military and security officers. This comes at a time when Yemen is preparing to restructure its military after decisions were issued to this effect last month. In addition to this, the Yemeni prosecutor-general has referred a number of terrorist cases to the courts.

By Mohammed Jumeh, Arafat Madabish, and Hamdan Al-Rahbi

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