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.
President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi chaired on Thursday a meeting of the Supreme Military and Security Committee.
The meeting touched upon the latest developments on the ground and the current Houthi escalation in and around the capital Sana'a which represents a threat to security, stability and public tranquility in the city and coincides with current efforts to bring in a solution for the current crisis.
The UN annual report of the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2014) has said that Yemen is one of the most food-insecure countries in the world.
"Conflict, economic downturn, low agricultural productivity and poverty have made Yemen one of the most food-insecure countries in the world", according to the SOFI 2014 report published on Tuesday by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).
"Besides restoring political security and economic stability, the government aims to reduce hunger by one-third by 2015 and to make 90 percent of the population food-secure by 2020."
The report showed that the government also "aims to reduce the current critical rates of child malnutrition by at least one percentage point per year."
The Assistant of the UN Secretary-General and his Special Adviser for Yemen Jamal Benomar on Wednesday held talks with Abdul Malik al-Houthi in the province of Saada in the framework of consultations with concerned parties in order to find a peaceful solution to the current crisis in Yemen.
Benomar said that the talks, which lasted three hours, focused on solutions to the crisis that can be agreed on by all parties and be based on the outcomes of the comprehensive national dialogue conference.
The Human Rights Watch has announced today granting its Alison Des Forges Award for the Extraordinary Activism for 2014 to four activists including Yemeni female activist Arwa Abdu Othman.
HRW said in a release posted in the organization's website, the prestigious award has been granted this year to four courageous activists from North Korea, Africa, India and Yemen.
"The winners are among voices calling for justice in their countries and working tirelessly for protecting rights of others and their dignity," said the organization, making it clear that it chose Arawa Othman because she is a key activist working for ending child marriage in Yemen.
A military raid on houses in Hota town of Lahj province resulted on Sunday in arresting three terrorists elements, a military source at the Fourth Military Region Command said.
The military source said that a number of automatic weapons and RPG launchers and silencer pistol were found during the raid, noting that the military and security services are still investigating and pursuing the remnants of the terrorist elements and cells who fled from the area.
The European Union has denounced any act aiming at diminishing the political transfer in Yemen, stressing that parties involved in armed clashes must abandon their weapons they seized from state's army and to abide by effective laws.
In a release issued by the EU Commission today on the occasion of the International Day of Democracy under the motto "Sharing Youth in the Democratic Process," it made it clear the world is focusing on involving youth in the democratic process.
"Half of the population in Yemen is under 15 years and one third of the population is between 15-29," the release said. The released added that the Yemeni youth cannot wait more as they are aspiring for more prosperous future and calling for a new Yemen people share power and resources away of dominance of any group or individuals.
President Abd-Rabb Mansour Hadi on Saturday met with a number of Sheikhs, dignitaries, and social figures from Heziaz area, southern the capital Sana'a.
Hadi during the meeting said that Yemen now is facing critical situation due to current Houthi escalation in and around the capital Sana'a, which needs more caution and avoiding not entering in a conflict with Houthi armed militias.
"We don't mind, and under the constitution and laws, to organize peaceful protests, but trying to storm government facilities, schools, police stations or houses is something forbidden,'' President Hadi said.
He urged everyone to bear his national responsibility in order to avoid fighting in the capital
Yemen's ambassador to the United Kingdom Abdullah al-Radi met on Friday in London with British Minister of State for Middle East Affairs Tobias Ellwood.
In the meeting, al-Radi and Ellwood discussed the underway arrangements for the next meeting of Friends of Yemen Group scheduled on September 24 in New York, as well as the aspects of bilateral cooperation between the two countries.
The British minister confirmed his country's strong support to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi to complete the entitlements of the transitional stage and translate the outcomes of the national dialogue conference (NDC). He stressed that the international community would not allow any group or party to obstruct Yemen's exit march to the prospects of harmony ,peace, development and prosperity.