Saleh receives top U.S. official to discuss Yemeni crisis in Riyadh: official

09:04, July 11, 2011      

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A Gulf-brokered initiative and a UN conciliation proposal are the strong ground for resolving Yemen's political impasse, wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Sunday during a meeting with a top U.S. official in Riyadh, Yemeni Defense Ministry said.

Saleh' remarks came three days after he called on the opposition for power sharing during his first appearance through the country's state television since he was hospitalized in the Saudi capital to treat wounds he sustained from a bomb attack on his presidential palace in Sanaa on June 3.

"The peaceful power transition must be done in the framework of democracy and the Yemeni Constitution," Saleh told John Brennan, U. S. President Barack Obama's top advisor on homeland security and counterterrorism, in a meeting in the royal suite of a military hospital in Riyadh, said.

"The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-mediated initiative for power transition and the UN proposal for national dialogue are representing strong ground for resolving the current political standoff," Saleh added, praising the conciliation role by Saudi Arabia, the United States and the European Union.

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 carrying out new presidential elections in 60 days after Saleh's resignation.

During the meeting, Brennan conveyed a message from Obama to Saleh, expressing Obama's happiness for Saleh's improving health condition and reaffirmed the U.S. readiness to support Yemen in the fields of economic development and anti-terrorism.

The resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) apparently took advantage of Yemen's deteriorating security situations since the eruption of anti-Saleh protests in February. The AQAP has been dominating the southern province of Abyan since May as government forces were still battling with them to wrest control.

Saleh, who is being recovered in Riyadh since he was airlifted on the following day of attack, said he underwent eight successful surgeries for burns in his face, hands and the upper part of his chest.

In his Thursday's speech, Saleh called on the opposition for power partnership for staving off chaos to the country, which already suffered severe shortages in fuel, water, electricity, food and medicines.

Opposition's spokesman Mohamed Qahtan told Xinhua that "Saleh's aides were unilaterally preparing for resuming dialogue for forming a national unity government to be headed by the opposition ... but no meeting have been held between Saleh's aides and the opposition leaders."

"An expecting meeting might take place during the next days," he added.

Thousands of protesters marched in the capital Sanaa, requiring a transitional ruling council to be quickly formed for post-Saleh era.

A government official said that no dialogue and no power transition will take place until Saleh returns to Sanaa. He expected that Saleh could come back to Sanaa on July 17 to mark his 33 years in power.

Source: Xinhua
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