Sunday, 3 April 2011

President Saleh calls opposition to end protests, ignoring their “last chance” for him to step down

By Nasser Arrabyee/03/04/2011

The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called opposition to end the demonstrations and sit-ins responding to a plan by the opposition for immediate step-down.
“We call the opposition to end the demonstrations and sit-ins and road blockings,” said president Saleh Sunday in a meeting with tribal supporters from Taiz province.
“We ready to talk about the peaceful transfer of the power in the framework of the constitution,” Saleh added.

Earlier in the day, an opposition Islamist leader said that he and his supporters would march forward to the Presidential Palace if President Saleh did not accept the new five-point plan for immediate handover of the power.

“This is the last chance for the soft going out of Saleh, but if he refused, we would march forward to the Presidential palace,” Said Mohammed Qahtan, the spokesman of the Islamist-led opposition coalition.

Earlier last March, Qahtan also threatened to march forward to Saleh’s “bed room”, the matter which angered a lot of Yemenis who considered such a thing an unacceptable shame and increased the popularity of Saleh.

Another opposition leader said Saleh should go out in an honored and respect way. “President Saleh served Yemen during the past period with his good and , and now time has come for him to go out, and we want him to have a safe and honored exit and we want him to former president,” said Dr. Mohammed Abdul Malik Al Mutawakil, the former chairman of the opposition coalition.

Late yesterday, the Yemen opposition agreed on a five point plan for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down and hand over the power to his deputy.
1) The President Saleh should announce his step-down and transfer all his powers to his deputy, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.

2) Mr. Hadi should immediately re-structure the security agencies, the national security, the central security, and the republican guards, to make them function according to the constitution and laws far from nepotism (these three agencies are run now by two nephews and a son of Saleh).

3) Reaching a compromise with the new president (Mr. Hadi) about the transitional power through the following : A) A transitional council in which all parties and categories including the youth and women for conducting a comprehensive dialogue with everyone inside and outside Yemen, about all issues including the issue of the south, and creation of the civil state based on parliamentary system and proportional electoral system.

B) Formation of a committee of experts to do constitutional reforms in the light of the results of the dialogue. C) Formation of a national unity government chaired by the opposition, in which all parties and categories including the young people should be represented. D) A temporary council of respected military commanders in which all components should be represented including those military officers and commanders who were forced to retire after the 1994 war.

4) Formation of high commission on elections and referendum, to conduct the referendum on the new constitution and conduct parliamentary and presidential elections.
5) Confirmation of the right to peaceful demonstrations and expressions, and investigations into the attacks on the demonstrators especially the massacres in Aden , Sana’a and Abyan, and put those responsible on trial and compensate the families of those who were killed and injured.

Earlier tonight, the Yemeni opposition parties agreed late Saturday on a plan for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to transfer the power. After an exceptional meeting held by the opposition leaders, the spokesman of the opposition coalition, Mohammed Qahtan said the steps of this plan will be announced in hours tonight. “And the ball would be in the Presidnet’s court,” Qahtan said with any further details.

Earlier in the day sources said, the political Yemeni crisis is expected to come to an end very soon as all conflicting parties are about to agree on a deal giving President Ali Abdullah Saleh a “safe and honored exit”.

The sources said that meetings and negotiations between Saleh and opposition with western mediators did not stop from last week.

“I’m expecting a solution today Friday or tomorrow for this crisis,” a source close to the negotiations which include American and European diplomats.
“The meetings and negations did not stop from last Saturday March 26th, 2011,” the sources added.

The President Saleh said on Friday he would sacrifice himself for Yemen, a sentence which was widely understood, he would step down.

“I would sacrifice myself for you and for the Yemeni people,” Saleh told about 2 million of his supporters who rallied in the two big squares of the capital, Tahrir and Al Sabeen and all the streets and sub-streets around them.

The state-run media estimated the people in the rally of AlSabeen Square at 4 million and those who participated in all provinces at 10 million.

Saleh’s supporters, who called their Friday the “Friday of brotherhood and Tolerance”, were chanting “Yes for security and stability, yes for constitutional legitimacy.”

The Saleh’s supporters came almost from all over the country to Sana’a.
They were chanting “The People Want Ali Abdullah Saleh, the People Want Ali Abdullah Saleh”.

At the same time hundreds of thousands were chanting “ The People Want Ali Abdullah Saleh out, The People Want Ali Abdullah Saleh out” in the other side of the corner of the city.

The opposition media estimated their supporters in Sana’a at one million and a half and their supporters who participated in the “Friday of Liberation” in about 15 provinces at 5 million people.

Saleh has not stepped down yet despite the masses of the “Friday of Liberation” which came after the “Friday of Departure” as his detractors and protesters called them.

The President Saleh was very short in his speech today Friday in front of his supporters. He said he would not answer to anyone, in an obvious reference to the opposition media who doubted about the popularity of Saleh and the numbers of the participants of last Friday who came also from everywhere outside Sana’a.

Saleh only thanked his supporters and promised to sacrifice himself for them and finished.

However, the young protesters and opposition parties wanted him to sacrifice his post only not his life.

“We do not want him to sacrifice himself for us, we want him only to sacrifice his post and go,” said the 27-year Adel Abdu Arrabyee, a member of the media committee, at the sit-in camps, the Change Square, at the gate of university.

“We , the youth of revolution, would assure President Saleh that we would not be with his political opponents, but we would be with the new Yemen, Yemen of freedom, Yemen of democracy, Yemen of the civil state.”

Observers, however, said that Saleh’s sacrifice means he would step down after finding out a safe and honored exit in the non-stop negotiations going on behind the scenes.

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