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U.S. believes in transition in Yemen without President Saleh: spokesman

(Xinhua)

09:22, August 09, 2011

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on Monday that his country believes that Yemen can move forward with a transition without President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The comment was in response to a press report that U.S. officials have convinced Saleh, rehabilitating in Saudi Arabia from a June attack, not to return to Yemen.

Saleh is staying in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh for recuperation from wounds sustained in the early June attack on his presidential palace after checking out of hospital over the weekend.

"As all of you know, we've had conversations with President Saleh during his recuperation in Saudi Arabia. I can't get into the details of those conversations," Toner told reporters at a regular news briefing.

"But our position has not changed, speaking globally," he added. "We've called for an immediate peaceful and orderly transition and believe that's in the best interests of the Yemeni people."

Saleh has broken promise three times to sign a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), under which he should step down in return for immunity from prosecution. The U.S. fears that the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has been trying to bomb targets on U.S. soil, is taking advantage of the turmoil in the poor Arab country, where anti-government protests broke out in mid-February.

"Our position is, whether he remains in Saudi Arabia or not, time is wasting, in terms of seizing the opportunity, the GCC agreement, moving forward on a transition," Toner said. "So what we're working on through our embassy and our ambassador is trying to move the process forward now, rather than wait."

He said the U.S. believes that Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbo Mansour Hadi "is fully capable of moving the process forward."

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