Yemeni president in handover talks

27 March 2011

Ali Abdullah Saleh in negotiations for a transfer of power

Yemen’s President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is in talks regarding his departure from government after another weekend of mass protests across the country.

The president has been rocked by a wave of defections to the opposition by government and military officials, as well as tribal leaders, which has made his position increasingly untenable.

“I could leave power … even in a few hours, on condition of maintaining respect and prestige,” Saleh said in a televised interview on 26 March. Talks are reportedly now under way about the transition of power.

News agency Reuters reported the talks took place between Saleh and Yemen’s vice-president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and several other senior officials, including tribal and military leaders who have defected.

Senior military commander Brigadier General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar is now backing the opposition to the Saleh regime and soldiers under his command have now started to protect the thousands of protesters in the Yemen capital Sanaa (MEED 22:3:11).

Yemen has become increasingly violent after 45 anti-government protesters were killed by unidentified gunmen on 18 March in a square in central Sanaa.

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