Almotamar.net, Saba - Sana'a- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has sat down for an interview with The Washington Post and Time Magazine in Sana’a.
Q: We would like to inquire about your health. Do you have any indications of who might have been behind the terrorist attack that nearly killed you on June 2?
SALEH: Thank you for asking about my health. About the incident, there has been an exchange of information between us and the United States. And they promised us they would analyze the subject by the end of September. So we are still waiting for the analysis from Washington.
Q: You have authorized your deputy, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to sign the GCC initiative. Why don’t you do it yourself, now that you are here? And if you could explain to me what is holding up the agreement, and how close is the government to signing it?
SALEH: First of all, the vice president was delegated according to a Republican declaration. And there isn’t any reason for it not to go through, whether I am in the country or out of it. There is nothing that would stop this declaration from going through.
Q: How close is the vice president to signing the agreement?
SALEH: The vice president is waiting for the other side. We are ready to sign the GCC initiative as it is. However, the Joint Meetings Parties say that they want from this initiative one point: that the president or the vice president signs and that within 30 days the president leaves power. And then the 60 days that the GCC has mentioned — they say that is not enough for elections. What is important to the JMP is to remove the president from power, and the country would then go through chaos. We are ready and willing to sign at any time. But we need to sign the GCC initiative as a whole, and we need timelines for the mechanism of executing it. We are not holding onto power, we are willing to leave power as stated in the agreement, within the days and hours that will be agreed upon.
Q: Yet many say you are stalling to sign the Gulf initiative.
SALEH: This is a misunderstanding. We are willing within the next hours and next days to sign it, if the JMP comes closer. We don’t want to prolong it. And we don’t want this crisis to continue. We want this country to get out of this crisis.
Q: And you are still committed to not running again when there are elections?
SALEH: As for me, I will retire — since the opposition has helped bring the president closer to retirement through the criminal act that happened at the presidential mosque.
Q: In recent days there has been heavy public criticism of you by Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen as well as the Ahmar clan. What is your response to this public criticism, and given the violence and mistrust that is unfolding, is it possible for all of you to remain in Yemen and work together?
SALEH: What kind of criticism?
Q: General Ali Mohsen put out a statement just the other day saying that you were driving the country to civil war.
SALEH: They make such statements every day. They are the ones who attack the military bases, the civilians and the protesters — the protesters who are moving around the city with the protection of Ali Mohsen and the Ahmars, using armed people. And they assassinate protesters from behind so they can blame the state. And I believe that the American intelligence is following this up and keeping a close eye on it and that they know exactly what is going on.
Q: So can you live together with them in the future?
SALEH: To be able to live with the other political powers, yes, there is no problem. But whoever was involved in the presidential attack and the incident two weeks ago that happened in Zubeiri Street ... that resulted in casualties of both soldiers and civilians — regardless of who they are or what their positions are, we have to bring them before the law.
Q: There is international condemnation for using violent against protesters. Why has the state resorted to such measures?
SALEH: This kind of action is not possible in Yemen. The constitution has given the right to Yemenis to gather and protest and to express their views through the media. But these actions. . . these actions were performed by a group of people that wanted the blame to end up falling on the state. They claimed that they are protecting the protesters and ended up shooting them and using these actions. There is a sort of trend, a media trend, by some of the media to call for the toppling of regimes and their replacement by nationalists, socialists and various other movements. And now they are moving toward Islamists, and a big evidence for that is they are making propaganda about the regime in Sana'a. They are saying that the government is the one that is oppressing the protesters, whereas the protesters are the ones who are oppressing the state itself by their actions. We are fighting the al-Qaeda organization in Abyan in coordination with the Americans and Saudis. At the same time, American intelligence has knowledge that al-Qaeda is in contact with both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military officers who are outlaws. And they told the vice president, “Give us Abyan, and we will stop the war in Abyan and the al-Qaeda network there.”
Q: Do you think Gen. Ali Mohsen and the Ahmars should be prosecuted?
SALEH: This depends on the results of investigation and analysis that are coming from Washington.
Q: And will you transfer power if they are still in positions of influence?
SALEH: The GCC initiative is clear. It says to remove all the elements causing tensions. If we transfer power and they are there, this will mean that we have given in to a coup. If we transfer power and they are in their positions and are still decision makers, this will be very dangerous. This will lead to civil war.
Q: I want to ask you about Yemeni-U.S. relations.
SALEH: The Yemeni-American relationship is good. In fact, it has not been affected during the past 33 years. And we have relationships with many political powers in Washington, both in the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. There have been some differences during the last Gulf war because of the Yemeni stance, but then the Americans realized that we were right and that we were not just defending the Iraqi regime, and these were accusations by analysts, diplomats and so on that turned out not to be true. I am addressing the American public. I want to ask a question: Are you still keeping your commitment to continue operations against the Taliban and al-Qaeda? If Washington is still with the international community in fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda, who have disturbed the world peace, that will be good. But what we see is that we are pressed by America and the international community to speed up the process of handing over power. And we know where power is going to go. It is going to al-Qaeda, which is directly and completely linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The United Nations Secretary-General underlined that the only option for resolving the crisis in Yemen is negotiation.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon "is aware of reports that other States, in particular members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, are also supporting these [Military] operations," said a statement released from the office of the UN chief's spokesperson.
Mr. Ban called for ensuring the protection of civilians and emphasized that "negotiations remain the only option for ultimately resolving the crisis."
A clarification message from the Pakistani embassy in Sana’a denies the rumors of Pakistan involvement on the air strikes against Yemen.
The source was surprised of including the name of Pakistan to the list of countries who participated in last night air strikes on Sana’a and other Yemeni cities.
Ambassador to Yemen Dr. Irfan Shami said, Several international media reports are erroneously reporting that Pakistani aircraft were involved in the air strikes launched by the GCC coalition against Yemen in the early morning of Thursday, 26 March 2015.
The Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Iyad Madani called on all Yemeni parties to act wisely and put the interests of Yemen above all political, tribal and sectarian accounts.
In a statement aired by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Madani described the developments that are currently taking place in Yemen as "serious".
Madani urged all parties to avoid the military option and to response to the international and regional efforts that call for a comprehensive national dialogue to find a peaceful way out of the deepening crisis in Yemen
Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned [Yesterday] as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition.
Briefing the Security Council via video conference in a rare Sunday session, Mr. Benomar told the UN body that Yemen was on a “rapid downward spiral” as the conflict took on “worrying sectarian tones and deepening north-south divisions.”
“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” Mr. Benomar declared. “Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war.”
The situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating since the country formed a new Government in November 2014 aimed at ending a period of political turbulence and bringing about a full transition towards democracy. Nonetheless, the country has continued to be plagued by violence and mass political demonstrations despite UN efforts to bring about a peaceful political resolution
Yemen's unity and stability are under huge threats, which casts serious consequences for the Arab region and the international peace and security, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.
"Yemen is facing multiple challenges, which makes it imperative to help Yemen and drag it away from the edge of the abyss ", Shoukry said in his speech during the Arab League Council meeting at the ministerial level held in Cairo.
He reiterated Egypt's support for the institutions of the state in Yemen to carry out their national responsibilities in maintaining the unity of Yemeni territory.
The United Nations announced on Sunday the launch of the humanitarian response plan for Yemen for 2015 with an amount of US $747.5 million to deliver humanitarian aid to 8.2 million people.
Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Johannes Van Der Klaauw said that the latest developments in Yemen confirm the importance of continuing humanitarian aid and expanding its domain to reach millions of vulnerable Yemeni people.
"Despite the political unrest in Yemen, the humanitarian community will continue to work in Yemen at its full capacity and within strong partnerships with local communities and local partners," Klaauw added.
He said that the humanitarian agencies are adhered to continue to deliver emergency humanitarian assistance and to provide protection services for people within the vulnerable groups.
He called on all donors and concerned parties to support such efforts and provide humanitarian response plan for Yemen during the current year.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) renewed on Wednesday its call for all political parties in Yemen to implement the Council's relevant resolutions, especially the resolution 2201.
The council urged Yemeni political parties to reach a political agreement based on the Gulf initiative and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement (PNPA), confirming its respect to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen.
Chaired by Francois Delattre, the ambassador and Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations in New York, the UNSC confirmed its support for the efforts made by the UN Special adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar.
In closed consultations which lasted for more than two hours, Delattre said, "We have heard Benomar's briefing over the latest developments in Yemen, reviewing our concerns the lack of political solutions as well as growing of terrorist threats due to the ongoing security vacuum."