Written By: Mohammed al-Kibsi & Nasser Arrabyee
Article Date: Feb 6, 2011 - 9:43:07 PM
The US President Barack Obama urged Yemeni opposition parties to avoid provocative actions and to positively respond to President Saleh’s initiative for reconciliation.
On Wednesday February 2nd, 2011, President Saleh offered concessions including a promise to not run for reelection when his current term ends in 2013 and that his son would not succeed him. In return he asked the opposition to stop all forms of protests and come to the negotiating table.
The following day, Thursday, two massive rival rallies were held in Sana’a: one calling for removing Saleh’s regime and the other for supporting it. After three hours at most, both of the rallies ended peacefully.
American President Obama in a statement issued Saturday, February 5th, 2011, in the website of the US embassy in Yemen, said that Yemen’s security forces had shown commendable restraint with the demonstrators last Thursday. He urged both the security forces and the demonstrators to always refrain from violence.
In the statement, Obama said, “We closely followed demonstrations in Yemen on February 2 and 3.” Yemen’s security organizations made significant efforts to exercise restraint with Yemeni demonstrators, although there were reports of a few isolated outbreaks of violence outside of Sana’a. We continue to urge Yemeni security organizations and demonstrators to refrain from violence and for the government to respect its citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and expression. President Obama spoke with President Ali Abdullah Saleh on February 2 and Secretary Clinton sent President Saleh a letter on February 3 encouraging Saleh to continue working towards political reconciliation through dialogue and to implement his proposed reforms.
“We strongly urge the opposition parties to avoid provocative actions and respond constructively to President Saleh’s initiative to resolve differences through dialogue and negotiation”, she said The US embassy warned both the government and the opposition to refrain from violence. “We continue to urge Yemeni security organizations and demonstrators to refrain from violence and for the government to respect its citizens’ right to peaceful assembly and expression,” the embassy said, adding there were a few outbreaks of violence despite security forces’ restraint.
• Offensive against militants drives US drone campaign, tribes claim
• Family to hand over militants should drone campaign cease
• Government says Al Qaeda deputy amir dead, experts skeptical