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Yemen's presidential candidate promises better future, asks for foreign aid

(Xinhua)

09:47, February 20, 2012

SANAA, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the sole candidate in the upcoming presidential election, on Sunday promised the Yemeni people a better future and urged the international community to finance his administration.

"I have accepted to run for the presidential election... My hands are extending to those who seek support... and I will work to bring changes and a better future for our nation," Hadi said in a speech aired on Sunday night by the state television.

"This election was the only effective way to keep Yemen away from dispersion... and with patience we will achieve our country's future through rewriting a constitution and providing good governance that meet the aspirations of all the Yemenis," he said.

"(Tackling) the economic crisis will be my first priority... and our current circumstances and the repercussions of the months- old political crisis force us to ask our friendly donor countries to help us," Hadi said.

In the speech, which was given two days ahead of the presidential election, Hadi also promised to launch a national dialogue with anti-election northern Shiite rebels and pro- separatism Southern Movement to settle the differences.

He also pledged to cooperate in the war against terrorism and continue battling al-Qaida branch in his country.

The early presidential election came as part of a UN-backed power transfer deal brokered by neighboring oil-rich Gulf countries to ease the long-time president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, out of office and pull the country back from one year of protests.

Under the deal, Vice President Hadi will be the sole candidate in Tuesday's vote and Saleh is granted immunity from prosecution.

Saleh left last month to the United States for medical treatment and said he would return home to attend Hadi's inauguration.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday showed his support for Hadi, who is seen as a strong ally to the Washington-led war against al-Qaida's resurgent off-shoot in Yemen.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has launched several attacks against the United States, has exploited the one-year unrest against Saleh and rapidly spread in nearly all major provinces surrounding the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

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