Tuesday, April 5, 2011

U.S. urging negotiated Yemen transition : Pentagon

WASHINGTON | Tue Apr 5, 2011

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is urging for a negotiated transition in Yemen "as quickly as possible," Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell said, as he condemned ongoing violence that killed three more people on Tuesday.

"Obviously the situation right now is a difficult one. The longer it festers, the more difficult it becomes," Morrell told reporters. "That is why this government has been urging a negotiated transition as quickly as possible."

Russia, China with dialogue to tackle Yemen's crisis

SANA'A, April 05 (Saba) - Russia and China voiced Tuesday their support for holding dialogue among all Yemeni political powers to tackle the current crisis

During their meeting with President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Russian ambassador to Yemen Sergey Kiselev and Chinese ambassador to Yemen Liu Denglin stressed that Yemenis are able to come to an agreement realizes Yemen's interests.

The two diplomats accented their countries' supportive stances on the security, stability and unity of Yemen.

For his part, the President talked about the presented initiatives to open a dialogue as well as the mediation of the Gulf Cooperation Council states that have called on Yemeni political powers to discuss in Riyadh the possible means to end the ongoing crisis in Yemen.

Saleh reviewed with the Russian and Chinese ambassadors the bilateral relations and the last developments in the country.

President receives sheikhs, dignitaries, local officials of Sana'a

SANA'A, April 5, 2011 (Saba)- President Ali Abdullah Saleh received on Tuesday sheiks, dignitaries, social personalities and local officials in the districts of Sanhan, Bani Bahlool and Bilad Al-Rous in the governorate of Sana'a.
During the meeting, the affirmed support for the constitutional legitimacy and national principles, and renewed their rejection to all acts of violence, chaos and vandalism, in addition to all actions harming principles of the Yemeni people and the country.
They also denounced all attempts to draw the country backwards leading it to rebellion, in addition to some media outlets which propagate false images on Yemen.
For his part, the president welcomed them, expressing appreciation for their support for the constitutional legitimacy.
He re-called the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) to return to dialogue and to discard violence, blocking roads and attacking the governorates' buildings, affirming such acts they commit lead to bad reactions and negative consequences.

1st Armored Division attacks tribal mediation, killing four

SANA'A, April 05 (Saba) - Four people of tribal mediation group were killed by the soldiers of the 1st Armored Division in Sana'a, a military source said on Tuesday.

The source said that the mediation group was from Sanahan, Belad al-Ros and Bani Behlol tribes headed for the 1st Armored Division headquarters in Sana'a to persuade the Division's Commander Ali Mohsen to change his decision siding with the Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs) and return to support the constitutional legitimacy.

"The 1st Division's soldiers along with militia of Iman University and JMPs' thugs have begun shooting the mediation group" the source said, adding that the clashes have left also about 67 injuries of the tribes, four are seriously wounded.

The mediation group included Sheikh Mohammed Muhsen Saleh al-Haj, the older brother of the Division's Commander Ali Mohsen.

Yemen disproves EU statement over local events

SANA’A, April 5 (Saba) – An official Yemeni source disproved on Tuesday a statement issued by Catherine Ashton, EU High Representative for Foreign. Affairs and Security Policy over the situation in Yemen.

"It is clear that Ashton’s statement had been based on misinformation about the unfortunate events that took place yesterday’’, said the source, accusing the opposition Joint Meeting Parties or some false media of providing those misinformation.

It added that Ashton had to ask the Yemeni government to provide true information over the recent events in the country.

"President Ali Abdullah Saleh has repeatedly emphasized his willingness to achieve a secure and peaceful transition of power under the constitution and democracy to safe hands trusted by the people and able to protect Yemen's unity, security and stability… and to combat extremism and terrorism", the source made clear.

In addition, the official source renewed Yemen’s commitment to respect and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the national constitution and the laws in force in the country.

It confirmed Yemen’s keenness to carry out dialogue in order to address all controversial issues and continue reforms and efforts for achieving the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

Yemen: major southern town falls to al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda is taking advantage of political unrest in Yemen to plot new attacks, the country's foreign minister warned the West on Tuesday night.
By Richard Spencer, Middle East Correspondent 05 Apr 2011
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Dr Abu Bakr al-Qirbi confirmed a major town near the vital southern port of Aden had fallen to al-Qaeda-backed rebel forces, and said the group was expanding its wider operations as the government was destabilised by clashes with protesters.
His warning came as American intelligence agencies said they believed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), as the terrorist group's Yemen-based franchise calls itself, was planning a new terrorist assault on the West.
As the country descends into open conflict, with more people killed across the country on Monday and Tuesday, Britain joined urgent calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down.
"I am appalled by the reports of further deaths and casualties in Yemen on 4th and 5th April." the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said. "President Saleh should make clear he is ready to engage now in an inclusive process of political transition."
AQAP was responsible for attempts to send parcel bombs to the United States via cargo shipments through Britain and other countries last October, as well as a failed attack on an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.
As unrest has worsened over recent weeks, the government has lost control of part of all of four provinces, including two, Shabwa and Abiyan, where AQAP has a strong presence. Dr al-Qirbi confirmed that the provincial town of Abiyan, Jaar, had fallen to presumed al-Qaeda-linked forces.
"There has been a government effort to dislodge them but I have no information on whether it was successful," he said.
"Obviously the extremists are taking advantage of the political unrest here," he added. "Al-Qaeda is trying to strengthen its position. This is what we are trying to prevent. But the existing political situation and disruption between the government and the opposition pretty much is an opportunity for AQAP."
US officials told the New York Times that counter-terrorism activities, in which Yemeni forces were receiving support from American and British forces, have "ground to a halt".
They also reiterated concerns that intelligence "chatter" from informants and electronic intercepts indicated AQAP was discussing a new terrorist attack on unknown western targets.
In a key statement on Monday night the White House spokesman, Jay Carney, gave the threat of al-Qaeda as a reason for Mr Saleh to step down. Mr Saleh has always presented himself as America's bulwark against terrorism in Yemen.
"That's one of the reasons why we urge political dialogue to take place and a timetable for this transition that President Saleh has talked about to be begun," Mr Carney said.
Mr Saleh has promised to stand down at the end of his current term of office, but opposition parties want his vice-president to lead an immediate handover of power while youth groups demand that all senior regime figures quit, including members of his extensive family.
At least 20 people died in clashes in the cities of Taiz, Hudeida and Sana'a, the capital, on Monday, and at least another three in Sana'a yesterday.
That incident was a particularly worrying sign of how close Yemen is slipping into a multi-sided civil war. The men shot were pro-Saleh tribesmen who were attempting to talk to the country's long-time security chief, a relative and former close ally of the president, Brigadier-General Ali Mohsen, who has recently sided with the demonstrators.
He in turn said the tribesmen were trying to assassinate him.
Source: The Telegraph

Two soldiers found 'executed' in south Yemen

ADEN, Apr 5, 2011- Two soldiers kidnapped by tribesmen in southern Yemen were found with their throats slit on Tuesday in the restive province of Abyan, an Al-Qaeda stronghold, a security official said.
The two soldiers were murdered in an Al-Qaeda-style execution, the official said, requesting anonymity.
He said the execution of hostages went against the norms of Yemeni tribes, which often resort to kidnapping as a means of exerting pressure on local authorities, implying Al-Qaeda militants could have been behind the killings.
Local residents told AFP the corpses were found with gunshot and knife wounds on the side of a road outside the unrest-strewn town of Loder.
The two soldiers were kidnapped last Thursday in Loder by tribesmen in retaliation for the Yemeni military's killing of six suspected Al-Qaeda militants last month.
A security official said on March 26 that army troops killed the six as they attacked an army post in Loder.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based franchise of the network, last year launched a failed plot to dispatch parcel bombs on US-bound cargo planes.

Netherlands suspends aid to Yemeni government

05 Apr 2011

The Dutch government made a decision yesterday to suspend a major portion of its aid to governmental institutions in Yemen. 'We are suspending funding to institutions that have any connection whatsoever with the Yemeni government,' said Ben Knapen, Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation. The move is intended as a political signal that the Netherlands deplores the actions of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.

The measure will affect €14.7 million of the total €23.7 million budgeted by the Netherlands for Yemen in 2011. However, emergency aid and assistance channelled through civil society organisations (NGOs) will continue as usual. This includes sexual and reproductive healthcare programmes, such as assistance to women dealing with unwanted pregnancies and problems related to childbirth.

The Dutch move has been prompted by the Yemeni government's continuing violence against demonstrators. On 21 March the Foreign Affairs Council of the European Union adopted the conclusion that the EU and its member states would review their policy towards Yemen if violence were used against peaceful demonstrations. Last Sunday and yesterday there were more violent incidents involving the army and demonstrators, in which an estimated 15 people were killed and over 1,500 injured.

Source: Government of the Netherlands