Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yemeni president Saleh finally put signature to deal about transfer of power

  Ali Abdallah Saleh finally signs the agreement about the transfer of power. 

Reuters reports that President Ali Abdallah Saleh of Yemen on Wednesday finally signed a deal with the Yemeni oppostion about the transfer of power. Yemeni state television showed live coverage of the ceremony in the Saudi capital Riyad. The opposition already agreed to the deal in March, after it had been brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council. But Saleh broke no less than three times his promises to go along. This fourth time, however, he finally put his signature under an agreement, the final details of which had been worked out on Monday evening, as the Yemen Post wrote.
The deal will see him leave office in 30 days, making way for Vice President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi to negotiate a power transfer with the opposition. Saleh will now seek medical treatment in New York, UN leader Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday. "If he comes to New York I will be happy to meet him," the secretary general added, saying he was "encouraged by the positive development of the situation in Yemen."
Vice-President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi
 According to the Yemen Post Saleh will remain the country's official president under the agreement, although without any real powers. As for the famous "military dossier" upon which Saleh had serious reservations since it meant for his nephews and sons to abandon their leading positions, a compromise was reached, according to the paper. From now on a Military Committee headed by Vice President Hadi will oversee all operations. Moreover, the ruling party announced that Saleh as President of the Republic of Yemen would retain the following powers:  The implementation of the GCC initiative, the nomination of a new government, the calling for presidential election. 'He will remain the constitutional president and will also be the head of the (leading party) the General People's Congress," said a president loyalist. It remains to be seen whether revolutionaries will welcome the agreement or reject it. One provision of it is that Saleh is granted immunity from prosecution, which is unacceptable to many. In Sana'a the tension is very high, Wednesday sporadic clashes broke out again between government troops at one side and the troops of general Ali Mohsen who  and tribal forces of Sadq al-Ahmar at the other.
Saleh as a young officer. 
It is clear, however, that Saleh's rule now, whatever may happen, after 33 years will come to an end. Saleh was when he came to power a rather unkwnown 36-year old officer, who many thought would not stay on for long. He was seen as a possible interim figure after president Ahmed al-Ghashmi had been killed by a bomb in the briefcase of an envoy from the leaders of  (the then still communist) South-Yemen with whom the north had a conflict. Saleh, however, quickly established his power and put many of his relatives in key positions, something that still is the case today. His son Ahmed, for instance, leads the Republican Guard which is in the forefront of the respression of protesters and the fight with opposition forces, like the forces of the Hashed confederation of tribes, under Sadeq al-Ahmar.
 A US diplomatic cable in 2009 released by WikiLeaks spoke of a leader who had grown increasingly autocratic. It quoted Saleh's cousin Mohammed al-Qadhi as saying that "since 1994, he decided that he was the only man capable of making decisions in this country."

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