First Published: 2012-02-22

 

Clinton hails 'important step' in Yemen one-person vote

 

US Secretary of State pledges to support violence-torn Yemen as it moves toward democracy.

 

Middle East Online

Washington acknowledged that a one-person vote was not a "true democracy"

WASHINGTON - US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday praised Yemenis for the "important step" of voting to end President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year rule and pledged support as it moves toward democracy.

"This is another important step forward in their democratic transition process and continues the important work of political and constitutional reform," Clinton said in a statement.

The "election sends a clear message that the people of Yemen are looking forward to a brighter democratic future. But there is still more work to be done," she said.

Clinton promised that the United States "will continue to support Yemen" as the nation -- a key front in the global campaign against Al-Qaeda -- addressed its "urgent economic, social and humanitarian challenges."

The vote was part of a power-transition deal brokered by Gulf Arab states and signed by Saleh in November. Only one candidate, Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, appeared on the ballot and will lead Yemen for a two-year interim period.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland acknowledged that a one-person vote was not a "true democracy" but called it a "beginning point" for a more competitive process.

"After they have a new constitution, our expectation is it will lead to full, free, fair, multi-party, multi-candidate elections, both for the legislature and for the executive," Nuland told reporters.

Saleh, the latest in a line of autocratic Arab leaders to lose power, has been in the United States since January 29 for treatment of burn wounds he suffered when his presidential palace was attacked in June.

Nuland said that Saleh was Tuesday in California and will enjoy diplomatic immunity until Hadi is inaugurated.

"Our understanding is that the Yemeni plan is to do that sometime later this week. So until then, Saleh is the sitting head of state and will be accorded immunities here," Nuland said.

She declined comment on Saleh's future movements. Human right activists have pressed for the United States to prosecute Saleh.

In a report this month based on witness accounts, Human Rights Watch said that Saleh's forces stormed and shelled hospitals, evicted patients at gunpoint and beat medics during an assault last year against protests in the city of Taez.

The New York-based rights group said that at least 120 people died in Taez, of whom 57 were taking part in peaceful demonstrations and 22 were children.

 

UN council votes to bring back full Western Sahara mission

UN rights chief calls Syrian crisis 'shameful realpolitik'

Air strike hits clinic in rebel-held Aleppo

South Sudan unveils unity government

Aleppo mourns paediatrician killed in air strike

US, Russia 'agree freeze' on two Syrian fronts

Libya unity government vows to end jihadist 'scourge'

Turkey demands 5 years jail for UK academic over 'terror propaganda'

UK pair accused of giving money to Brussels, Paris attacks suspect

Turkey says Bursa bomber linked to PKK

Kuwait steps up deportations of expat workers

Iranians vote in second round of parliamentary elections

Palestinians support, Israel opposes French peace initiative

Biden in surprise Iraq visit to support embattled government

MSF condemns strike on Aleppo hospital

Lifeline to millions in Syria 'may be broken' as violence intensifies

Turkish journalists get two years for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoon

Greece making 'incredible effort' to tackle migration issue

Iraq shuts Al-Jazeera bureau for 'instigating violence and sectarianism'

Syria regime readies for major Aleppo offensive

Israel nuclear reactor defects spark secrecy dilemma

Suicide bomber targets Aden police chief

Death toll in Syria's Aleppo rises despite UN truce plea

Italy to introduce migrant fingerprinting at sea

UN envoy plans to hold another round of Syria peace talks

US proposes full restoration of Western Sahara mission

27 Yemeni soldiers dead in key offensive

Global press freedom drops to lowest level in 12 years

Constitutional amendment grants Jordan king more powers

Suicide bomber blows herself up in Turkey northwestern city

Austria adopts one of EU's toughest asylum laws

Netherlands warns no safety 'guarantees' for visitors to Turkey

Battered Aleppo residents ask: Where is Syria ceasefire?

Libya kidnappers release Serbian worker

Sinai bombing kills three Egypt policemen

UAE considers tough safety code after skyscraper fires

UNESCO says Palmyra retains 'authenticity' despite damage

Khamenei says US 'fomenting Iranophobia'

Russia applauds cooperation with US on Syria

Etihad Airways sees $103 million profit in 2015

Russia asks UN to list Syria rebel group as 'terrorist'

2 Palestinians shot dead at checkpoint

Turkey PM pledges draft constitution will guarantee secularism

Greece returns 49 migrants to Turkey

Nearly quarter of Iran's parliament seats at stake in election run-off