Saturday, April 23, 2011

Yemen's President Criticizes Former Lawmakers Who Joined Opposition

Sana'a, Apr 23, 2011- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has accused government opponents of trying to drag the country into civil war.

He made the comments during a speech to armed forces academy students on Saturday, a day after thousands of anti-government protesters demanded his resignation.

Saleh said former ruling party members who had resigned and joined the opposition were "symbols of corruption." He also accused opponents of trying to mimic the situations in Egypt and Tunisia, where anti-government unrest led to the presidents' resignations.

On Friday, opposition activists rallied across Yemen while Saleh remained vague as to whether he would accept a plan from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council that included his resignation.

The plan calls for him to transfer power to a deputy, who would then form a unity government within two months. Ruling party members would control half of the unity government, 40 percent would be held by an opposition coalition, with the rest made up of unaffiliated parties.

Saleh said he welcomed the group's efforts, but any proposal had to meet the framework of the constitution.

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