If Yemen protests not stop, Al Qaeda may take over, senior US official says
SANAA- Visiting U.S. president's assistant for counter-terrorism and homeland security John Brennan warned Tuesday increasing protests in Yemen may lead to growing unrest which would benefit al-Qaida, an opposition official told Xinhua.
Brennan made the remarks when meeting with the Yemeni opposition in the U.S. embassy in capital Sanaa on Tuesday, which followed talks between the U.S. official and Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Sanaa and wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a Saudi hospital.
"Brennan, in his meeting with the opposition leaders, warned against any political protest escalation, whether from the opposition side or from the ruling party, because that would lead to growing unrest and deterioration in security, which certainly benefit terrorist al-Qaida wing to expand its activities," an unnamed opposition official said.
Meanwhile, the official said "Brennan provided almost nothing about resolving the political deadlock or power transition that based on an initiative brokered earlier by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries," adding "Brennan promised that efforts were still going on for securing a peaceful and swift power transition that preserves Yemen's security, stability and unity."
Saleh, when meeting Brennan, said "the Gulf Cooperation Council- mediated initiative for power transition and the UN proposal for national dialogue are representing strong ground for resolving the current political standoff," according to the defense ministry.
The GCC initiative stipulated Saleh to resign within 30 days after forming a joint national government to be headed by the opposition. It also included holding presidential elections in 60 days after Saleh's resignation.
Besides, Brennan, also on Tuesday, met with a group of civil society leaders, in addition to leaders from the ruling party and the opposition, according to an statement on the website of the U. S. embassy in Sanaa.
"In his meetings, John Brennan reiterated the U.S. position that it is essential for all parties to participate in a peaceful political process in order to address the urgent needs of the Yemeni people for improved social, economic and security conditions, and to immediately implement a transition that serves the aspirations of the Yemeni people," the statement said.
The impoverished Yemen has been gripped by six-month-long protests demanding immediate end to the 33 years rule of Saleh.