Saturday, 19 March 2011



On February 2, President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that he would freeze the constitutional amendment process under way. He also vowed not to pass on the reins of power to his son: "No extension, no inheritance, no resetting the clock;"[102] and that he would quit in 2013.[103] He also called for national unity government.[104] He further promised direct elections of provincial governors and to re-open voter registration for the April election after complaints that about 1.5 million Yemenis could not sign on to the voter rolls.[105] On 1 March, Saleh blamed the United States and Israel over the conflict.

Yemeni Interior Minister Mutaher al-Masri said that "Yemen is not like Tunisia."

The leader of the Yemeni Congregation for Reform, the largest opposition party in Yemen, Mohammed al-Sabry, stated, "We want constitutional amendments but we want amendments that don't lead to the continuance of the ruler and the inheritance of power to his children."[9] He also doubted Saleh's pledge not to seek re-election. Al-Sabry said Saleh made a promise in 2006 not to run, but then failed to fulfill his pledge.

On 10 March, Ali Abdullah Saleh promised to put a new constitution to a referendum this year and move the country to a "parliamentary system". The Yemeni president said on Thursday that the new constitution would guarantee the separation of legislative and executive powers and prepare for the holding of new general elections that would assure an effective parliamentary rule. The opposition has, however, rejected the offer, saying the offer came too late and it did not meet demands of protesters.


    * United Kingdom British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "deeply concerned" by the "unacceptable violence" used against protesters.[109] The government announced that in light of the unrest it was considering revoking some arms export licenses stating that "licenses will not be issued when officials judge that there is a risk that the exports may provoke regional or internal conflicts or be used to facilitate internal repression."

    * Canada On March 6, 2011 - Canadian Foreign Affairs Department said, "Canadians should leave Yemen as soon as possible, the Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated Sunday, as new political violence swept the Middle Eastern nation."

    * United States President Barack Obama said that he was "deeply concerned" by the violence.

    During a trip to Yemen, United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she would be working not just at a military cooperation but also a "comprehensive strategy" aimed at resolving Yemen's "myriad problems." She also said that "Yemen recognizes the threat AQAP poses to it and it has become increasingly committed to a broad-based counter-terrorism strategy. At the same time, we are committed to a balanced approach towards Yemen which includes social, economic and political assistance. We face a common threat by the terrorists in Al-Qaeda. We are focused not just on short-term threats but on long-term challenges." She also signaled a "joint vision for a unified, stable, democratic and prosperous Yemen where civil society had the room to operate and Al-Qaeda did not."[113] U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters that the US government backs the right of Yemenis to "express themselves and assemble freely".[114] The US also later said that it had hopes reform attempts to stave off protests similar to Egypt.[115] The U.S. Embassy in Yemen wrote in a statement that it had seen "a disturbing rise in the number and violence of attacks against Yemeni citizens gathering peacefully to express their views on the current political situation," adding, "We have also seen reports that Government of Yemen officials were present during these attacks," and asked the Yemeni government to "prevent any further attacks on peaceful demonstrations."

    After cleric Abdul Majid al-Zindani, a one-time mentor of Osama bin Laden, publicly called for an Islamic state to replace Saleh, Garry Reid, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Combating Terrorism, said Saleh's government was "the best partner we'll have (against al-Qaeda), and hopefully it will survive".


On 2 February, brent crude crossed US$100 on concern over instability.[118] The following day, crude oil rose for the fifth day in a row on speculation of spreading protests and the prospect of uncertainty.[119]

Regional financial stock market indices fell on 20 February on concern of spreading instability.

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