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Entries in President Ali Abdullah Saleh (14)

Wednesday
Jan042012

Yemen's Saleh No Longer Coming to US?

Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has reportedly canceled plans to come to the United States for medical treatment.

“To date, we still have a visa application from President Saleh at our embassy in Sanaa. It hasn't been withdrawn," U.S. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters Wednesday. "We also have not made a decision one way or another with regard to that visa."

Nuland reiterated a call that Saleh step aside and honor an agreement to transition power.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec282011

Ex-Iran Hostage 'Thunderstruck' US May Admit Saleh

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A former Iranian hostage is "thunderstruck" that the U.S. is considering allowing beleaguered Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the country for medical treatment.

Barry Rosen and 51 other Americans were taken hostage by Iranian students on Nov. 4, 1979 after President Carter allowed the deposed Shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment.

"This is absolutely putting [Americans working in the embassy] in total danger," said Rosen, who served as the press attache in the American embassy in Iran when the building was stormed. Rosen and the others were held for 444 days.

Rosen, who is now executive director of public affairs at Borough of Manhattan Community College, said the chance of Yemenis invading the American embassy in the capital city Sana is a "good possibility."

"I am personally thunderstruck by this," he said. "There is no reason to bring him here. He is a murderer...and the Americans in the embassy are absolutely trapped."

Saleh announced Saturday he had applied for a visa to visit the United States on the grounds that he needed medical treatment for shrapnel wounds and burns suffered during the bombing of a mosque near his presidential compound in June.

The U.S. State Department released a statement Wednesday, denying reports that Saleh's visa had already been approved.

Saleh has become a reviled character in the past 11 months of anti-government protests that kicked into full gear after the uprising in Tunisia in January 2011 and ushered in an era of political unrest in the Middle East known as the Arab Spring.

In the past year, Saleh is accused of ordering the killing of protesters and has reneged on his promise to step down on several occasions. Last month, Saleh signed an accord in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, agreeing to transfer power by next February.

For Rosen, the sense of deja vu is too strong to ignore.

"The people in Washington know nothing about what goes on on the ground or any sense of a historical record" he said. "It will be so sickening if this happens again."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov232011

Yemen's Leader Signs Deal to Transfer Power

Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(RIYADH) -- Yemen's president for the last 33 years signed the power transfer deal Wednesday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, a move that could potentially put an end to months of bloodshed and protest.

The deal hands over power to his vice president, with Ali Abdullah Saleh retaining the title of president for 90 days. Elections are expected within three months. The deal, pulled together by Gulf leaders and Yemen’s Saudi neighbors, apparently also includes an immunity deal for Saleh himself.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said Wednesday that he expects Saleh to come to New York soon for further medical treatment. Reports have indicated that the Yemeni leader still needs treatment for burns sustained during an attack back in June.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct252011

Yemen's Saleh Ready to Step Down?

Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(SANAA, Yemen) -- The U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, was called in to a meeting with Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday, their first meeting since Saleh slipped back into the country from Saudi Arabia, where he was recovering from burns sustained in an attack on his mosque earlier this year.

The U.S. State Department said Saleh told Ambassador Feierstein he plans to sign a deal proposed by Yemen’s neighbors that would remove him from power. Saleh has made such promises in the past, but has balked each time.

Saleh also informed Feierstein about the ceasefire that his government agreed to with the opposition Tuesday, the State Department said. So far that truce has been shaky, with reports of at least two protestors killed by government forces Tuesday.

“As you've seen, it's not clear that that has been completely enforced on either side since then, but we do consider it a good step both that President Saleh is reaffirming his commitment to the GCC agreement and that he understands and is supportive of the fact that the violence has got to end so that we can set the conditions for discussions about Yemen's diplomatic future. But again, the proof will be in the pudding,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters.

According to Nuland, Feierstein told Saleh that “this is overdue, and we want to see you actually implement this action you're committing to.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Jun302011

Yemen's VP: Saleh May Not Return for Months

Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- Yemen's vice president and acting president says he doesn't know when President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be able to return from Saudi Arabia where he is receiving medical treatment for injuries he suffered in a rocket attack on his palace earlier this month.

"It could be months," Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi told CNN in his 1st Western television interview since Saleh's injuries on June 3. "This decision is up to the doctors."

He said he saw Saleh right after the attack and said his chest had been pierced by a piece of wood and he had burns on his face, arms and upper body.

There have been reports in recent days that Saleh would make a statement on television, but on Wednesday he only sent a message through his foreign minister who said on state TV that dialogue is needed with the opposition to implement a deal brokered by the opposition.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jun072011

Yemen President Saleh's Injuries More Serious Than First Thought

Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(SANA'A, Yemen) -- The injuries suffered by Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh in an attack on his presidential palace last week are more serious than the chest wounds and limited burns that the country's government had previously reported, a U.S. official tells ABC News.

Saleh has fled the country to neighboring Saudi Arabia for medical treatment.

The attack against the presidential palace came after more than four months of pro-democracy protests.

The stability of Yemen -- a key ally of the United States in the war on terror -- is now questionable.

"President Saleh leaves behind a crisis," ABC News' This Week anchor Christiane Amanpour said. "A power vacuum in a poor, divided and heavily armed country spells trouble for stability, and troubles specifically for the war on al Qaeda's network there."

The crisis could create more challenges for U.S. interests, because of the strong presence of al Qaeda in Yemen.

"It is safe to say what happens in Yemen matters more than what comes next in Libya," Amanpour said.

Saleh has not officially stepped down, leaving many to question if the embattled president will continue to cling to power or if the attack was the blow that could finally put an end to his reign.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jun052011

Celebrations Erupt as Yemen President Departs for Saudi Arabia

AFP/Getty Images(SANAA, Yemen) -- Thousands of Yemen citizens flooded the nation’s capital on Sunday to celebrate the departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Saleh left the country on Saturday after being injured during an attack on his compound on Friday, and has reportedly gone to Saudi Arabia to seek medical treatment.

Saleh’s departure comes after four months of protests, as demonstrators called for him to step down as president. Upon learning of his departure, demonstrators descended upon Sanaa’s University Square and gathered on city streets, where they chanted and waved flags in a celebratory manner.

It remains unknown if Saleh will return to Yemen.

Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has assumed the role of acting president and commander of the armed forces.

Violence continued in Sanaa and the city of Taiz over the weekend, with fighting between Yemen security forces and members of Sadeq al-Ahmar’s tribe leaving at least 10 people dead, the BBC reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun012011

Hillary Clinton: Yemen Conflict Won't End Until Saleh Steps Down

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Amid reports of dozens killed in clashes in Yemen over the last day or so, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday the violence will only end when President Ali Abdullah Saleh leaves the country.

"We cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform," she told reporters in Washington.

The United States had backed a deal brokered by Yemen's neighbors that would usher President Saleh out of power and pave the way for a democratic process that involved the long-suppressed opposition. Saleh had suggested he would agree to the deal, but ultimately would not sign it, touching off renewed clashes in the impoverished Arab country.

"President Saleh was given a very good offer, that we strongly backed, by the Gulf countries," Clinton said.

"We continue to watch the situation, and we are where we've been for weeks in doing everything we can, along with the international community, to convince President Saleh to step down from power.  If it wasn't obvious before, it certainly should be now that his presence remains a source of great conflict, and unfortunately, as we have watched over the last several days, even, you know, military action and violence," she added.

Forces loyal to the president are now locked in a violent struggle against tribal groups and opposition figures vying for power. The clashes have overtaken a peaceful popular uprising that threatened to unseat Saleh through youth-led protests in the street. As the situation has deteriorated, last week the United States withdrew some non-essential personnel and all family members from its embassy due to security concerns.

President Saleh has been in power for nearly 33 years and was considered a key U.S. ally in a strategic country that is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the dangerous terror group that has tried to carry out several attacks in the United States in recent years. Saleh has warned that without him in power al Qaeda will be a greater threat.

U.S. military trainers have worked to improve Yemen’s security forces in a battle against terror groups and the United States has been allowed to conduct limited strikes against terror targets inside Yemen.

The Obama administration had been reluctant to withdraw its support for Saleh, fearing the political chaos that might ensue could provide an opening for al Qaeda to regroup, but shifted its position after the president started backing out of the deal with the opposition and as Saleh's crackdown on demonstrators increased.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Apr242011

Yemen President Calls Protests a 'Coup'

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Even with reports about Yemen president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreeing to a deal to step down, protestors continued demonstrations on the streets of Yemen on Sunday.

Thousands of demonstrators reportedly hit the streets of Sana’a and other parts of the country, protesting the deal offered to Saleh, according to published reports.

On Saturday officials said Saleh agreed to a deal that would see him stepping down from office within 30 days. The deal, which was brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council, also includes immunity for Saleh and those who served as part of his regime.

On Saturday the White House issued a statement saying that the United States supports a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen that is responsive to the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

In an interview with BBC’s Lina Sinjab on Sunday, Saleh called the protests against him a “coup” and said that Al Qaeda is moving inside Yemen and being destructive in the country.

“You call on me to hand over power from the US and Europe, but who should I hand it over to?” Saleh said in the BBC interview. “We will do it through ballot boxes and referendums, we’ll invite international monitors, but we will not accept a coup.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr082011

Yemen President to Supporters: Rejects Offer to Relinquish Power

GAMAL NOMAN/AFP/Getty Images(SANA’A, Yemen) -- Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis filled the country’s capital on Friday, demonstrating both for and against President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh addressed supporters, saying that he had rejected an offer from the Gulf Cooperation Council to give up power in exchange for immunity.

Attempts by Yemen’s embattled leader to crush anti-government protests have left dozens dead and while the Obama administration has not called for President Saleh to go, some believe the tide may be turning; a U.S. State Department official this week called the violence “appalling.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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