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.

 

Netanyahu flies to Washington to press case against Iran nuclear deal

Court ruling may force delay of Egypt parliamentary elections

Yemen separatists suspend participation in UN-sponsored talks

Jailed Kurdish leader calls on followers to lay down arms

Iraq reopens national museum more than 10 years after looting

Scores dead as car bombs target crowded market in Iraq capital

Iran shrugs off Netanyahu bid to abort nuclear deal

Egypt lists Hamas as terrorist organisation

Dozens dead as Qaeda takes strategic rebel base in Syria

UAE reopens Yemen embassy in Aden

Libya PM threatens new air strikes with Egypt against IS

Qatar takes full ownership of Porta Nuova

Roadmap finally agreed to end brutal Syria conflict

Turkey not placing high priority on fighting IS

IS militants destroy priceless ancient artefacts in Iraq’s Mosul

Aden becomes Yemen de facto ‘political capital’

Qatar emir committed to 'stability' in Egypt despite row

Rouhani adviser blames ‘extremists’ for rights violations

US-led coalition raids IS targets in northeastern Syria

IS executioner identity revealed

3 sentenced to death over Bahrain police killings

Hollande condemns French MPs for meeting Assad

HRW: Kurds preventing return of Arabs to disputed Iraq areas

One dead in series of Cairo bombings

UN Security Council calls for stepping up Yemen talks

Kerry: US, Iran have 'mutual interest' in defeating IS

Australian FM warns women against 'romantic adventure' with IS

Lebanese synagogue gets second life

Netanyahu speech to test resilience of US-Israeli ties

Austria adopts 'Islam of European character'

Tuareg chief issues plea for Mali unity

UN: Saleh amassed between $32-60 billion

Libyan FM warns country could be next Syria

Iran rejects US claims of role in Yemen crisis

French planes on Gulf-based carrier make first strikes

Top US official warns against Netanyahu speech to congress

Four French MPs meet Assad in Syria

FIFA cites 'problems' in worker conditions for Qatar World Cup

Mosque torched near Bethlehem

Egypt TV host faces trial for false bathhouse accusations

Turkey drives hard bargain over crucial missile deal

Obama nominates first US ambassador to Somalia since 1991

Obama praises Qatar as 'strong partner' in fighting IS

Saudi goes hi-tech against IS threat

Sisi grants Egypt authorities sweeping anti-terror powers