Saturday, January 29, 2011

The ruling party in Yemen proposes a dialogue with opposition

SANAA (Reuters) - Small groups of opponents were dispersed Saturday in Sana'a, the capital of Yemen, where the ruling party has proposed a dialogue with the opposition to stop the demonstrations against the government.
Supporters of the government of President Ali Abdullah Saleh has pushed dozens of Yemenis who were trying to reach the Egyptian embassy in Sanaa in solidarity with the anti-government protests in this country.
Yemeni protesters chanted "the people want the fall of the regime," witnesses said.
Just like the "jasmine revolution" Tunisian and protests underway in Egypt, thousands of Yemenis took to the streets this week to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdallah Saleh, in power for 32 years.
"(...) We call for an end to media propaganda and urge all political parties to work together to initiate a fruitful dialogue and make arrangements for elections to come," proposes a committee of the ruling party, the Popular Congress (GSC), in a statement quoted Friday on the website of the official news agency Saba.
"Additionally, we strongly call for the end of the demonstrations, fanning strife in order to avoid pushing the country into the conflict and sedition," she adds.
Despite the minor incidents reported between government supporters and opposition groups, calm prevailed on Saturday in the streets of Sanaa, where about 16,000 people demonstrated Thursday at the main rally since the start of the protest movement some days earlier.
GIC announced last October that he would participate in elections scheduled for next April, while the opposition hoped to see the government allow more time for talks on long-promised reforms.
The current challenge also seems motivated by a proposal late 2010 by members of the GPC and to remove the limitation on the number of presidential terms, which should compel Saleh to step down in 2013.
To calm things down, the GIC has amended its proposal last week on presidential terms by suggesting rather to limit their number and duration of two to five or seven years. The opposition fears that any reform would allow Saleh to make two additional terms.
Besides its social and economic problems, Yemen serves as a base for the branch of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The government is supported by the United States in its fight against Islamic extremists.
Yemen is also facing a separatist insurgency in the south and a Shiite rebellion in the north.

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