Yemeni president meets opposition members in the UAE
Yemen-United Arab Emirates, Politics, 5/26/2003
The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday in Abu Dhabi met with 50 officials in the Yemeni opposition living in exile including former separatists, whom he had pardoned several days earlier.
Yassin Saed al-Nu'man, the former speaker of the Yemeni parliament who took part in the meeting said that five out of 16 separatist ( who stood against Yemen's unity" were governed by the Presidential pardoning, took part in the meeting which was held on the sideline of an official visit by Saleh to Abu Dhabi.
Numan said that the pardoning decision dropped the reasons which used to prevent the return back of certain people, but he added that the meeting did not deal with "accompanying the President by some leading figures to Sanaa, rather leaving the return back of every politician to his own decision, according to special conditions."
Replying to a question if the decision aims partially at maintaining openness to the opposition in order to minimize the opposition Islamic coalition party for reforms in Yemen, Nu'man said "the socialist party understood that the pardoning has nothing to do with any intention to minimize any side."
He added that the "Socialists have no intention in this regard ( to marginalize the reforms party )."
Replying to a question if the pardoning decision came under American pressure to achieve openness in the Arab world, Numan said "any Arab political system takes into account the international condition in decision- taking." On the 13th anniversary of unity in Yemen, President Saleh pardoned some 16 former separatists in the former South Yemen, including five who were sentenced to death.
Those persons were accused of being behind a civil war in the Summer of 1994, four years after reunification of the two southern and northern parts of Yemen on May 22, 1990. The government forces achieved victory in that war.
The Yemeni opposition welcomed the presidential pardoning decision, hoping that it will open the way before deep political reforms in a country that lacks security and is dominated by the one political party.
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