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The Way Ahead For Yemen


Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally after Friday prayers to demand the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, June 24, 2011.

The United States is encouraged that Vice President al-Hadi is using his authority to begin conversations with people across Yemen.

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh along with a half-dozen other government officials remain in Saudi Arabia for medical treatment due to injuries sustained in a June 3rd attack on the presidential palace. For months, anti-government protesters have been holding demonstrations across the country.

The leadership of the ruling General Peoples Congress, or GPC, and the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties, or JMP, have signed the Gulf Cooperation Council political transition initiative – everyone but President Saleh himself has signed. The initiative would create a transition government wherein 50 percent of the positions would go to the GPC and 50 percent to the JMP. The transition government would prepare for the peaceful transfer of power and subsequent presidential elections.

Yemeni Vice President Abdu Rabo Mansour al-Hadi is the acting president in Saleh's absence. The United States is encouraged that Vice President al-Hadi is using his authority to begin conversations with people across Yemen, and the U.S. would like to see those conversations turn into a process of dialogue that peacefully moves Yemen forward.

Demonstrations against the Saleh government have continued for months. Hundreds of protesters have been killed by Yemeni security forces and opposing factions in street battles. President Saleh's refusal to sign a Gulf Cooperation Council-led deal to transfer power to a transitional government sparked violent conflict in Sanaa between his security forces and a powerful tribal group. Over 100 people were reported killed in clashes between May 22 and June 3 when a carefully brokered ceasefire took effect.

The United States deplores the use of violence against protesters in any country and underscores its support for the right to demonstrate peacefully in Yemen.

The United States calls for an immediate, peaceful, and orderly transition in Yemen that allows the Yemini people to realize their aspirations for a more representative government. Moreover, the United States encourages all sides to engage in dialogue to move Yemen forward peacefully.

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