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.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, chairman of the General People's Congress (GPC), received Mr. Sidrek Shafaizer, Chief of the International Committee Mission of the Red Cross. The meeting discussed the ICRC humanitarian activities in Yemen in order to provide services in the areas affected by conflict armed.
Shafaizer confirmed that International Committee almost has 250 activist disrupted among many Yemeni governorate like Sana'a, Aden, Taiz, Sa'ada, and Dalea.
The number of kidnapped children in Yemen during the last year reached 124, including 105 males and 19 females, Head of Seyaj Organization for childhood protection Ahmed Al-Qershi has said.
Al-Qershi added that most of the abducted children were victims of human trafficking .
In a press conference organized in Sana'a by the Monitoring and Advocating Center in Seyaj on the occasion of launching the first annual report on kidnapping children in Yemen 2013
al-Qershi confirmed that only 19 of children kidnapping cases were reported by their parents.
Safi did not commit any crime that deserved imprisonment. She was only friends with a man in a society that did not believe in that. Since her childhood, she used to have her friend drive her places because she trusted him, and never thought about it. One night, though, his car stalled and he went to repair it. A group of men demanded money from them, otherwise they would call the police and imprison them for immorality. The two friends did not listen, and as a result, Safi found herself in jail.
Safi didn’t face as many problems in prison as she did with society and her family. Once they found out, they left her to face things alone. One year passed, and when she was released, her eyes were filled with tears.
Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi met here on Tuesday with director of the GCC office in Sana'a Saad al-Arifi.
During the meeting, they reviewed the ongoing arrangements for the Friends of Yemen next meeting to be held in London on 29 April, as well as the latest developments in the local and international arenas.
Yemen and the US reviewed here on Tuesday aspects of joint cooperation in the telecommunication and information technology fields.
During their meeting, Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology Ahmed bin Daghr and Chargé d'affaires of the US embassy Karen Sasahara discussed the possible means of Yemen to benefit from the US telecommunication experiences and technologies.
Anxiety is affecting many Yemeni girls who are groaning under the burden of economic problems, which is one of the primary motivations for child marriage in the country. Mohammed Ali, a father of five daughters, said that he was fired from his job three years ago, and lost the income needed to provide them with a good education and comfortable life.
“I really feel guilty when I accept a marriage proposal for one of my daughters while she is still a child, but nothing is in my hands. Poverty leaves no way in front of me.”
Academic studies say that 52% of Yemeni girls accept marriage in their early years to escape poverty. The study also said that boys are also affected by the phenomenon.
The governments of the UK, Saudi Arabia and Yemen will co-chair the next Friends of Yemen meeting in London on 29 April, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office said in a press release on Monday.
The Friends of Yemen was established in 2010 to co-ordinate international support for Yemen and comprises 39 countries and organisations.
“With the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) earlier this year, Yemen has entered a new stage in its transition towards a constitutional referendum and elections”, the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office added.
President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi received on Sunday at the Presidential Palace sheiks and dignitaries of al-Mahra and Socotra Archipelago provinces.
At the meeting, Hadi indicated to the critical situation Yemen has been experiencing nowadays, which needs as he said all national efforts in order to translate the NDC outcomes on the ground. "Yemen has got out of its crisis fairly and honorable,'' the President said.
He confirmed that the cooperation by the international community averted Yemen from dragging into several risks and dangers based on the expending the responsibility, wealth, and power under a new federal system which would achieve justice and fair.