UN Envoy Says Yemen Faces Huge Challenges

Posted December 21st, 2011 at 8:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations' envoy to Yemen says the transitional government faces the huge challenge of wresting control over parts of the country from al-Qaida.

Jamal Benomar told the Security Council Wednesday that the situation in Yemen is highly fragile, with a number of areas in the hands of government opponents, including al-Qaida.

Benomar said the political agreement that saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh hand over power to his opposition-backed deputy will fail without the cooperation of all political leaders. He says he wants to see a Yemen where the streets belong to the people and not those with arms.

President Saleh agreed last month to give up power to Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, leading the way to a new presidential election set for February 21st.

Benomar said Wednesday Mr. Saleh will soon go to a foreign country for what he calls “serious” medical treatment. The envoy gave no other details. Mr. Saleh was seriously burned in a rocket attack on the presidential palace in June, sparking street battles and an uprising against his government.