Yemeni Opposition Rejects Calls to Join ‘Unity Govt’

Saleh Tells Clerics He Wants Out, But Warns of 'Chaos'

Yemeni opposition leaders today rejected a call by the regime to join a “national unity government” and insisted that their demands for regime change and a free election remain as they always have been.

Long-standing Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh cited the rejection today in his talks with top religious leaders in Sanaa, saying that the opposition simply won’t agree to any negotiations at all. This is true, since Saleh has refused to resign.

Incredibly, however, Saleh is also said to have told those clerics that he is “fed up with power” and that his regime “are ready to leave” but are afraid the nation would split into “more than two” if he does.

Which may well be the case, as there are active secessionist movements both in the far north of Yemen (which is dominated by the Shi’ite Houthis) and the south, where many want to renew the creation of the South Yemen nation that was annexed after the fall of the Soviet Union.

But these secessionist movements seem to be growing primarily in response to anger at the Saleh regime, and his continued rule is surely not going to calm them down.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.