Yemen Opposition in Talks About Power Transition

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 2:50 pm (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Yemen’s political opposition has held talks with the country’s acting leader, seeking to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is in Saudi Arabia recovering from wounds suffered in an attack more than a week ago.

The Associated Press says Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi and opposition leaders met Monday and worked out a framework for discussions on a transition of power.

Mr. Saleh is recovering in a Saudi hospital from serious injuries he sustained in an explosion at his Yemen presidential compound in early June. In his absence, anti-government activists have renewed calls to start the process of setting up a transitional government council. Opponents have been calling on Mr. Saleh to leave office immediately.

Peace talks have stalled for months as Mr. Saleh rejected several overtures from Arab Gulf neighbors to unlock the political impasse.

U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday the U.S. would like to see a dialogue between the opposition and Yemen’s government. He added that continuing the “status quo” in Mr. Saleh’s absence is creating a “security vacuum.”

Meanwhile, officials in Yemen say airstrikes targeting Islamist militants in the country’s south have killed three people. The officials Monday said the strikes hit the Abyan province town of Jaar, which is under control of militants linked to al-Qaida.

On Saturday, Yemeni defense officials said clashes between government forces and al-Qaida in the province killed at least 30 people, with casualties on both sides. They said 18 militants and nine soldiers were killed in the fighting in the coastal town of Zinjibar.

Yemen had been battling al-Qaida and separatists before anti-government unrest erupted earlier this year.