Opposition Coalition Formed in Yemen

Posted August 17th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Anti-government activists in Yemen have met in Sana'a to elect a “national council” that will explore ways of taking power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The meeting in the capital Wednesday comes a day after Mr. Saleh announced that he would be returning soon from Saudi Arabia.

The French News Agency says the various opposition groups that attended the meeting elected a 143-member council to lead what the activists call a “revolution.”

Anti-government protesters have been taking to the streets since January calling for President Saleh's resignation. But in his speech on Tuesday, Mr. Saleh described his opponents as political radicals who want to take the country backwards.

Mr. Saleh traveled to Saudi Arabia to recover from wounds sustained when protesters attacked his presidential compound in June. He said his speech was directed toward government loyalists who met in Sana'a on Tuesday in a show of support for him.

Last week, Mr. Saleh told members of his ruling party he was willing to consider a plan from the Gulf Cooperation Council that calls for him to turn over power to his vice president.

The GCC first proposed the plan in April. Mr. Saleh agreed to the plan three times but each time backed out before a deal could be signed.

In a separate development, tribesmen loyal to President Saleh say the have arrested 10 suspected al-Qaida militants.

They say the arrests took place in a southern province late Tuesday.

Militants have taken control of several areas in southern Yemen during the six-month uprising pressing for Mr. Saleh's resignation.