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.

 

Iraqi forces enter IS-held Mosul airport

Somalia names new prime minister

Syrian rebels announce capture of flashpoint town from IS

Top Yemen commander killed in missile strike

Marrakesh clinches top ranking of African urban life

Swedish citizen jailed for IS Facebook post

Netanyahu backs pardon for Israel soldier who shot Palestinian

UN envoy meets Syrian rivals, hopes of breakthrough slim

Yemeni government forces pin back rebels on coast

Israeli Supreme Court appoints deeply right-wing judges

Hundreds of Australians protest Netanyahu

Yemen rebel fire kills policeman on Saudi border

Fired Turkish academics protest ‘unjust’ dismissals

UN condemns Israel's new West Bank demolition plans

UN envoy says Russia asked Syria to halt bombing during talks

Bahrain arrests 20, approves military trials for civilians

Israel blocks EU lawmakers from Gaza entry

Syrian migrant on trial in Austria over 20 murders

UN says rapes, killings still blight Darfur

Yemen president says Saudi saving $10 bn for reconstruction

New Somali president says ability to deal with nation's problems 'limited'

Israel lifts ban on basketball team playing in Turkey

Arab League condemns Israeli soldier’s lenient sentence

Turkey lifts ban on Islamic headscarves in army

Israeli ministry orders removal of Haifa ammonia tank

Iraqi forces ready for assault on Mosul airport

Turkey says fewer than 100 IS jihadists left in Al-Bab

Former Iraqi soldier in German court for war crimes

Australia PM welcomes Netanyahu, slams 'one-sided' UN

Syrian opposition, government due in Geneva before talks

Israeli parliament to retain controversial dress code

Bahrain police clash with demonstrators over death of young Shiite

Mogadishu under security lockdown for president's inauguration

US-backed fighters seize more than dozen villages in Syria’s east

UN says seven million Yemenis on brink of starvation

Egypt, Jordan say no concessions on Palestinian state

Mosul ravaged by malnutrition, drug shortages

Israel sentences soldier to 18 months for killing Palestinian

Civilians trickle towards Iraq forces after village liberation

Turkey sentences Kurdish party co-leader to 5 months

Israel boosts missile defences against Hezbollah

France's Le Pen refuses to wear headscarf in Lebanon

Bouteflika health scare raises questions in Algeria

Palestinian journalist released after 10 months in Israel jail

UN says Syria talks focus on 'political transition'