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.

 

Palestinians react to death of Peres

Syrian army retakes rebel-held Aleppo district

UN Libya envoy warns against ‘political impasse’

Morocco finally adopts Amazigh as official language

Saudi petition seeks 'full' rights for women

Poverty takes toll in rebel-held Yemen fishing village

Kerry threatens to end negotiations with Russia on Syria

Kuwaiti court scraps petrol price hike

Iraq requests more US troops to take on IS in Mosul

Airstrikes hit hospitals in rebel-held Aleppo

Iran nuclear chief says not worried about Trump

Iranian, Italian ships hold manoeuvres in Strait of Hormuz

Gunmen kill three Egypt policemen, civilian in Sinai

Turkey says 32,000 coup suspects awaiting trial

Paris to host international meeting on Libya

Etihad plane in emergency landing in Abu Dhabi

Struggling Saudi Oger lays off 1,300 staff

Israel ex-PM to serve 27 months for graft

Syrian kids return to school in Manbij

World Bank releases $300 million for Syrian refugees in Jordan

Iranian FM in Ankara for Syria talks

Israeli ex-president Peres dies

Oil prices post marginal gains

Russia tries to strongarm US with Aleppo assault

Jordan vows crackdown on online incitement

Assad, Russia press intense Aleppo assault

Iran's Ahmadinejad says will not run for president

Boris Johnson dismisses Erdogan goat poem as 'trivia'

Turkey dismisses 87 spy agency staff over failed coup

Egypt recovers sunken boat, more bodies

Israel's Peres 'fighting for his life'

Bombings kill at least seventeen in Baghdad

Netanyahu chooses diplomacy in US election

Iran sets conditions for joining terror finance taskforce

Who is the destroyer of Timbuktu shrines?

Israel to charge Lieberman party officials in graft probe

Egypt detains owner of capsized migrant vessel

Countless bombings in Baghdad’s Karrada since 2003 US-led invasion

Clinton, Trump clash in fiery first presidential debate

Moroccan gets death threat messages over cartoon posted by killed Jordanian

Saudi king unveils austerity drive

Israel prosecutor general denies going easy on PM

Iran frees Iranian-Canadian academic

Supplies dwindle, strikes intensify in Syria's Aleppo

Rebels, civilians quit Homs under deal with regime