Yemen’s President Saleh Arrives in U.S.
On Saturday, Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in the U.S for medical treatment. Saleh left Yemen on January 22 and traveled to the U.S. via Oman and the United Kingdom. The President was injured in an attack in June 2011. Saleh accepted to step down under an agreement proposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.) in return for immunity from prosecution for its regime exaction during the upheaval in Yemen last year. President Saleh tansfered power to his Vice-President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi until Presidential elections set for February 21. Hadi is expected to be elected President. The G.C.C.’s deal established a transitional government that will include the opposition and envisions restructuring Yemen’s armed forces, which has Saleh’s relatives in powerful posts.
Meanwhile, Yemeni Prime Minister Mohammed Saleh Basidnoh held a meeting on Sunday in Sanaa, with the United Nations’ permanent members (U.N.P.M.) and G.C.C. states’ ambassadors. They reviewed the current preparations for the upcoming presidential elections and agreed to form a committee. The committee will be tasked to coordinate with the U.N.P.M., G.C.C. and all political forces in the country for an inclusive dialogue to limit instability in Yemen.
The United Nations Development Program (U.N.D.P.) will assist the transitional Government of Yemen and the Supreme Committee of Elections and Referendum (S.C.E.R.) for the organization of the elections.
On Sunday, two Yemeni soldiers were injured during an attack on a Southern region office of Yemen’s electoral committee, in the latest sign of opposition to the February elections. On Friday, Yemeni Southerners were protesting against the elections. ”The people of the south reject the elections completely,” separatist leader Nasser Al Khubbagi said. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia fear a protracted crisis in Yemen, as it could give al-Qaeda’s regional wing a foothold near oil shipping routes through the Red Sea.