News Analysis: Yemeni President Saleh's speech comes to push Saudi, U.S. deal forward

09:06, July 11, 2011      

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by Fuad Rajeh, Wang Qiuyun

Wounded Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met on Sunday with John Brennan, U.S. President Barack Obama's top advisor on the country's security and counterterrorism in Riyadh, said that a GCC initiative and a UN conciliation proposal are strong ground for resolving Yemen's political impasse.

Analysts said that Saudi Arabia and the United States are pressuring him to protect their interests amid the continuous anti- government protests and opposition moves to form a transitional council.

"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 told Brennan.

Saleh' remarks came three days after he called the opposition for power sharing during his first appearance through the country' s state television.

He delivered a speech on Thursday, the first since he survived an assassination attempt inside his palace last month, at a time when analysts argue that Saleh has politically died.

Saleh's appearance in that condition, with his body burned and wrapped, was a sign that Saudi Arabia and the United States are still pressuring him to protect their interests, analysts said.

"Saudi Arabia and the U.S. were behind Saleh's appearance in that condition to pressure opposition and others who are seeking to form a transitional council," said Abdul Ghani al-Maweri, an analyst and author.

"I think there is a political deal to contain the situation in Yemen which is in its final stage and Saleh's speech comes to push such a deal forward," he said.

"Most recently, we have seen the U.S. and Yemeni politicians, mostly from the opposition, talking about a political crisis in Yemen," al-Maweri said.

As the government said that the speech proved Saleh's responsible behavior towards the current crisis in the country, the opposition argued that the speech came just to raise the morale of the government supporters and to show that the president has not lost legitimacy.

President Saleh praised the steps and efforts by vice president meant that he gave the green light for dialogue without any revenge, Tariq al-Shami, Saba chairman and head of the information department in the ruling party said, adding, "we hope that the political forces, mainly the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties, will positively respond to Saleh's calls through putting the country's interest ahead of anything else."

But the opposition insists that Saleh wanted to show that he is still the president and on top of the ladder of the political pyramid, while the truth is that he is really outside politics now.

"Saleh's speech did not contain anything new. He called for dialogue because he used to talk about dialogue but never does something practical in this regard. If Saleh really wanted dialogue, this would happen in the past," said Sultan al-Atwani, a leader in the supreme JMP council.

Now, the opposition is very convinced that no dialogue should take place except a peaceful power transfer, he said, adding that the opposition should be busy at this moment with steps leading to a new Yemen.

"Whatever Saleh says, all indicators say that his era has finished and that Yemen is entering a new era," al-Hathyani, an Aden-based publisher and analyst said.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
 
 
     
 
 
 
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