By Nasser Arrabyee/14/03/2011
The American ambassador to Yemen said he wants to see a new reality in Yemen but through a peaceful transition of power not chaos, violence or civil war.
“ We want to see a peaceful transition, we want to see Yemen moving forward to a new reality but it got to be done in a way that maintains some kind of peaceful transition,” the ambassador, Gerald Feierstein, five Yemeni journalists, including the Gulf News reporter, in the embassy in Sana’a on March 12th, 2011.
“Those who want President Saleh to leave, they have a responsibility to say if President Saleh leaves, this is what we’re going to do, and until today, nobody has come forward, at least as far as we know.” He said.
“We oppose simply saying that Ali Abdullah Saleh should go, without saying anything about what you think is going to happen next. We oppose the idea of chaos. We oppose the idea that this will lead to civil war or to violence.”
“The problem is that people are demanding something without any idea of how they will manage it, and how they will prevent a disaster for the Yemeni people.”
The opposition leaders, who refused Saleh’s initiatives that almost met all their demands, say they are with the street and the street does not want any talks or dialogue now.
“If the Joint Meeting Parties (opposition) is not the representative of the people on the street then the people on the street need to say who are their representatives,” said the ambassador Feierstein.
He said the opposition needs to bring protesters in the street into a process of dialogue if they (opposition) want to be the leaders.
“ We think if the JMP wants to be the leader of the opposition they need to bring the street into the process,” said Feierstein.
When asked whether US wants President Saleh to finish his term in 2013 or leave now, the ambassador said, “ We do not think that it is up to us what we want is something acceptable to the Yemeni people whether he stays till 2013 or leaves in 2011 or he goes on 2012.”
About allegations that toxic gases were used to disperse the protesters in Yemen the ambassador said, “ We are reasonably confident that the allegations that there are sirens or mustard gas used are not correct.”
“If mustard gas was used there would have been 500 people dead and not one person.”
When asked what Saleh can do more to convince the opposition to sit for dialogue , the ambassador said, President Saleh should “ to remove some ministers who are known to be corrupt, to remove some of the senior security officials who were involved in some of these violent or forced confrontations with demonstrators particularly in Aden.”
When asked if US is concerned about the Islamist dominance over the Yemeni opposition and if an Islamist leader was elected as President like Al Zandani the ambassador said, “ Abdul Majid Al Zandani is on the terrorism list for the US and the United Nations, so we have a problem if he were elected a president.”