Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saleh loyalists, foes at loggerheads over Yemen’s future


Al Arabiya SANAA

Supporters of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh held a conference on Tuesday in the capital Sanaa in a demonstration of force ahead of a planned massive opposition gathering on Wednesday.

More than 5,000 chiefs and members of several tribes loyal to the embattled president took part in the conference.

Loyalists gathered to show support and commitment to “constitutional legitimacy and dialogue” and to “reject violence and sabotage,” the conference organizing committee said in a statement.

Sheikh Mohamed Bin Naji Al Shayef, of the Bakeel tribe, the second largest in Yemen after Hashed, had said the conference would propose a roadmap to breaking the political deadlock in the country and would be signed by tribal chiefs.

“This document will put an end to all the illegal behavior that has been going on lately, such as spreading chaos, destroying public property, and terrorizing people,” he said in a press conference.

Sheikh Shayef said conference participants would take a firm stance against all parties that refuse to engage in political dialogue.

“Those who do not want to take part in dialogue are, according to all Yemeni tribes and all Yemenis in general, trying to drag the country to a civil war.”

Meanwhile, the National Assembly for the Powers of the Peaceful Revolution is scheduled to hold Wednesday an opposition conference also in the capital Sanaa.

The conference will select members of a national council to be made of all parties and groups taking part in protests against President Saleh.

“The council seeks to unify the efforts of all revolutionary powers in order to bring about change,” the opposition assembly said in a statement obtained by Al Arabiya.

The council will include 1,000 members who represent different opposition powers, according to the statement.

This will include parties and coalitions like the National Progressive Unionist Party, the Houthis, the National Solidarity Council, the Yemeni Movement for Change, the People’s Movement for Justice and Change and representatives from several of the country’s governorates, such as Maareb, Al Jawf, and the central regions.

The council will also include scholars, academics, journalists, businessmen, and tribal chiefs youth representatives who have taken part in the protests that call for the ouster of Saleh’s regime.

The opposition council plans to elect a presidential committee to rally domestic and international support and speed up the departure of the embattled Saleh.

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