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Saleh's participation in Yemen dialogue triggers debate

Protesters question former Yemen president's reported participation in national dialogue

Gulf News

Sana'a: Yemen's former leader has remained to stir up some argument in Yemen despite almost a a year after relinquishing power and the nomination of a new president.

Ali Abdullah Saleh , the country's former long serving president, has recently made a splash by announcing that he would lead his party's bloc in the upcoming National Dialogue which the country puts much hope to solve many of the country's thorny issues.

Saleh relinquished power early this year after almost a year of uprising against his regime. In an attempt to convince him to leave power, Yemen parliament passed  a law in January this year, pardoning Saleh and his associates from any wrongdoings  during his three decade-long rule.

According to the official website of the General People's Congress (GPC),his party, Saleh has delayed his oversea trip for treatment to lead the GPC's representatives in the National Dialogue. Since June 2011, Saleh has been receiving treatment from injuries  he suffered from an attack on his presidential compound.

"Since Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi  will chair the National Dialogue as a president of the Republic, the representatives of each party should be led by the leader of each party as to take[decisive] decisions to handle any differences that could come up during discussions," a statement on GCC website said.

Departure reports

Saleh's made this announcement as his opponents' mouthpieces spoke about imminent departure of Saleh from the country to settle in Europe.

Akhbar Al Youm newspaper, owned by Saleh's former ally general Ali Mohsen Al Ahmer, reported last week that Saleh has recent received  visas for him and some of his associates from the Italian embassy in Sana'a and an accommodation was prepared for him in Italy.

Angry protesters 

Youth protesters have called for Saleh's prosecution, accusing him of allegedly killing protesters during the uprising in 2011. Protesters who are at odds with the new government over Saleh's immunity law ,said that they  will boycott the  National Dialogue if Saleh showed up.

Khaled Al Anisi, a leading organiser of anti-Saleh protests, questioned Saleh's reported participation in the dialogue.

"That is a complete farce. Youth protesters have not decided about taking part in the conference without Saleh. If he participated  in the conference, it may lead to another big revolution. I think this a provocative and absurd move to let people lose trust in the political parties that saved his skin," he said.
Abdul Bari Taher, a political analyst, said that Saleh's remark about participating in the conference was meant to muddy the waters and impede any settlement that could take the country to safety.

"Saleh  should have left Yemen immediately after signing the GCC deal, but the leniency of political parties that signed the deal has created this situation. "he said.

The National dialogue Preparatory Committee that was tasked to prepare for the conference said it has not received an official confirmation from Saleh's party about  his participation.

A source close to the Committee said that the committee has sent massages to all political parties that are expected to take part in the dialogue to nominate their representatives in the conference."We has not received any reply from any party including Saleh's party. We cannot say now what we will do if Saleh's party nominated him for the conference." the source said on condition of anonymity.