News / Middle East

    Yemen's President Remains in Oman, Departure for US Uncertain

    Outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks to the press at the presidential palace in Sana'a, January 22, 2012.
    Outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks to the press at the presidential palace in Sana'a, January 22, 2012.

    Outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in the Persian Gulf sultanate of Oman and it is unclear when his planned trip to the United States for medical treatment will take place.

    An official at the Yemeni embassy in Washington told VOA Thursday he has no information on when Saleh might arrive. Mohammed Albasha also denied an article in The Wall Street Journal saying the president's family is searching for a plane to fly him to New York.

    The article said Saleh’s presidential plane, an aging Boeing 727, is prohibited from landing at U.S. airports. Albasha said President Saleh does have access to a plane that can fly him to the United States. He departed the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, Sunday on a jet for neighboring Oman, where he said he would stop for a brief period before traveling on to New York.

    Media reports citing diplomats in Oman and aides to Saleh say he is trying to secure approval from the Omani ruler for permanent exile, but Albasha "strongly" denied the speculation.

    A source close to the negotiations that led to Saleh's departure told the French news agency that if Saleh does eventually arrive in the U.S. he will stay until at least February 21, the day presidential elections are scheduled for Yemen. AFP quotes the source as saying Saleh will "not be admitted to a hospital but will see consultants in New York."

    The U.S. has said Saleh's request to travel to the United States was approved for the sole purpose of medical treatment, and that his stay would be for a "limited time."

    The embattled leader was severely wounded in a bomb attack on his presidential compound last June and spent several months recuperating in Saudi Arabia. He has spoken previously of a desire to seek further treatment in the United States.

    In a televised farewell speech just hours before he left Yemen, the outgoing president asked his people to forgive him for any "shortcomings" made during his 33-year autocratic rule. He also vowed to return to the country and continue leading his ruling General People's Congress party.

    Yemeni opposition activists have staged a year of mass protests demanding his immediate ouster, inspired by popular uprisings in other parts of the region. Thousands of Yemenis rallied in Sana'a Sunday, calling for Saleh to be put on trial for a violent crackdown in which hundreds of people have been killed.

    The anti-Saleh protesters reject granting Saleh full immunity from prosecution. Yemen's parliament approved the immunity last week as part of a Gulf Cooperation Council-backed deal to encourage the president to leave office. Saleh signed the plan last November and agreed to transfer presidential powers to his deputy ahead of the February 21 elections to pick his successor.

    Yemeni Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is the consensus candidate of Yemen's ruling party and parliamentary opposition for that election.

    Reuters reported that at least 22 people were killed Thursday in clashes between Shi'ite Muslim rebels and fighters from a Sunni Islamist group in a province under rebel control in the country's rugged north.

    A source close to the Houthi rebels told Reuters that Salafist fighters attacked them overnight in Hajja and in the Kataf area of Saada province, a location that has seen intense sectarian fighting in recent months.

    Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

    Join the conversation on our social journalism site - Middle East Voices. Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
    and discuss them on our Facebook page.

    You May Like

    Vietnam Urges US to Lift Lethal Weapons Ban Amid S. China Sea Tensions

    US president’s upcoming visit to Vietnam underscores strength of relationship, and lifting embargo would reflect that trust, ambassador says

    Are US Schools Turning a Blind Eye to Radical Qatari Preachers?

    Parade of radical Islamist clerics using mosque at Qatar’s Education City draws mounting criticism for American universities that maintain satellite branches there

    Why Islamic State Is Down But Not Out

    Despite loss of territory, group’s ferocious attacks over past three months seen as testimony to its continued durability and resourcefulness

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroadi
    X
    May 02, 2016 1:36 PM
    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora