In a telephone call to Washington on Wednesday, Saleh expressed regret over his former remarks that Washington and Tel Aviv were behind the recent and persisting anti-government uprisings in Yemen, Homeland Security Adviser John Brennan said.
Brennan expressed appreciation for Saleh’s apology but added that the remarks were unhelpful since they “ignore the legitimate aspirations of people in the Arab world,” AP reported.
On Tuesday, Saleh accused US President Barack Obama of interfering in the internal affairs of Arab countries. He also said Israel was behind the anti-government uprisings in his country.
At least 24 people have been killed in clashes between government forces and anti-regime protesters, with anti-protest violence in the southern province of Aden accounting for most of the deaths.
Saleh has resisted growing demands for his ouster and has only promised not to seek re-election when his current term expires in 2013.
The out-of-favor president earlier offered to form a unity government with the opposition and religious leaders, but the opposition rejected the idea.
OPPOSITION DEMANDS :
Yemen’s opposition and religious figures are pressuring the country’s unpopular ruler to step down by the end of the year in response to the nationwide anti-government protests.
The call came through a Thursday statement, which envisioned “a roadmap for the President [Ali Abdullah Saleh]’s departure before the end of this year,” AFP reported.
The petition urged a “peaceful transition of power.”
Saleh has already been in office for 33 years with several opposition members arguing that his long-promised reforms have not materialized.
Dozens of people have died during the security forces’ crackdown on anti-government protests that began to sweep the country in January.
Government forces recently intensified their armed attacks on demonstrators, apprehending five political and human rights activists, as well as an educator and an engineer in the south.
To appease the people, Saleh made more pledge-ridden remarks in early January and promised to leave office at the end of his term in 2013 and not to hand over the reins to his son.
He, however, vowed late last month to cling onto power until his last “drop of blood” despite growing mass rallies, which he has described as “a conspiracy against Yemen’s unity and territorial integrity.”
The protests have been motivated by the popular revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, which toppled the decades-long autocratic rule of the countries’ Western-backed dictators.
- After Tunisia and Egypt , Yemeni wants Saleh’s Ouster (jafrianews.com)