Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yemeni separatists urge supporters to disrupt poll

February 18, 2012  
A faction of Yemen's separatist Southern Movement on Saturday called for a day of "civil disobedience" to disrupt next week's presidential election.
The Higher Council of the Peaceful Movement for the Liberation of the South, in a statement, called on its supporters to "take every possible peaceful action" against Tuesday's election to prevent it going ahead.
The group is one of several factions that make up a broader separatist coalition known as the Southern Movement that seek autonomy, and in some cases, independence, from the central government in Sanaa.
The Southern Movement opposes the election and has repeatedly called on its supporters to boycott the poll.
The Higher Council warned that election day could turn violent and that their supporters would try to prevent voters from casting their ballots at polling stations in the former South Yemen.
"The Southern Movement will prevent the elections using peaceful means but we expect some violent actions may take place, especially in the big cities," the Higher Council's vice president, Saleh Yahia Said, told AFP.
Witnesses say posters have been plastered throughout the streets and on buildings in Yemen's southern port city of Aden calling for a boycott.
"No to elections, yes to cessation" said one poster. "Ensuring the failure of the elections is a national and religious duty," reads another.
On Friday, southern militants opposed to the election exchanged fire with police outside a polling station, leaving three civilians wounded, residents said.
Under a Gulf-sponsored accord signed in November, Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi will stand as the sole candidate to replace embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh agreed to a power-transition deal after months of mass protests demanding his ouster.
The violence and political deadlock that engulfed Yemen since last January has left hundreds dead and thousands more wounded. It has also crippled Yemen's already weak economy and pushed millions of Yemenis further into poverty.
Shia rebels in northern Yemen have also called on their followers to boycott the election.

VP receives letter from US president

SANA'A, Feb. 18 (Saba) - US president Barack Obama confirmed Saturday his country's support for Yemen until ending the current crisis's aftermaths and achieving the transitional phase's goals.
Obama's statement was included in a letter handed over to Vice President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi by US Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism and Assistant to the President John Brennan.
The US president expressed his appreciation of the national magnificent role the Vice President has played during the crisis in Yemen.
"Hadi is enjoyed the regional and international confidence", Brennan said, pointing to the international community's understanding to the importance of supporting Yemen in the transitional phase to realize all the desired goals.
He accented the US would present all kind of assistance, especially in the critical circumstances Yemen is undergoing currently.
Brennan asserted that the US follows up closely the achievements in Yemen under the political settlement deal, voicing his country's satisfaction with the accomplished steps according to the Gulf initiative and the UN resolution 2014.
In return, Hadi valued highly the US president's good feelings and all efforts enhancing the political settlement in the country.
"We, in Yemen, are happy of the US partnership in tackling all issues", Hadi said.
The VP indicated to the great challenges Yemen faces, topped by restoring the security and stability in addition to enhancing the economic situation.