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Yemeni president warns of civil war if he steps down

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Tom Finn
London Guardian
March 23, 2011

Yemen’s president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has accused defecting generals of trying to stage a coup against him, saying the country would descend into a bloody civil war if he were forced to step down.

“Those trying to wrest power through coups should know that this is impossible,” Saleh said in a defiant speech on television on Tuesday. “The fatherland will be made unstable, there will be war, a bloody civil war. They should carefully reflect on this.”

Saleh, who has been president of Yemen for 32 years, is under mounting pressure to step down following seven weeks of anti-government protests and defections among the ruling elite.

He announced on Tuesday that he would accept a proposal for an early departure from office, in January 2012, though it remained unclear when or how a transfer of power would take place. Previously he had offered to leave only by 2013.

The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), Yemen’s opposition coalition, said they would accept nothing short of immediate resignation.

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This article was posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 at 5:10 am

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