Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Yemen PM promises govt soon, gets Saudi, UAE help

Tue Nov 29, 2011
SANAA Nov 29 (Reuters) - Yemen's prime minister-designate promised on Tuesday to announce his government within days, saying Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates would help the country with oil and electricity as it tries to pull back from the brink of civil war.
Mohammed Basindwa, a former foreign minister, has been tasked under a Gulf-brokered peace plan with forming the interim cabinet after President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed power to his deputy following 10 months of protests seeking his overthrow.
"The government will be announced within days," Basindwa told a meeting of opposition groups that he led during the protests against Saleh.
Basindwa said he had told the Saudi and UAE foreign ministers that "Yemen urgently needed immediate support in the electricity and oil sectors ... and they agreed to that".
It was not clear on what terms the two Gulf states were offering to help with the oil and power.
However, earlier this year Riyadh granted three million barrels of crude oil to Yemen, whose modest exports -- a source of revenue for imports of staple foodstuffs -- have often been halted by attacks on pipelines during the political standoff.
Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who has been empowered to run the country during an interim period, has called an early presidential election on Feb. 21, 2012 as part of the Gulf Coooperation Council initiative.
Hadi named Basindwa, who joined the opposition during the protests, as interim premier on Sunday.
Under the power transfer plan which Saleh signed in Riyadh last week, a government should be formed with the participation of opposition groups.
But it also effectively ensures Saleh and his family immunity from prosecution. This has angered youth organisers of the protests against Saleh's 33-year rule, during which hundreds of people have been killed and simmering conflicts with separatists and both Sunni and Shi'ite rebels have flared.

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