By NY Staff
Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Friday he would not leave the country, dismissing reports in the Gulf Arab media that he was seeking a safe exit as Saudi Arabian war planes bomb troops loyal to him and their Houthi militia allies.
Early on Sunday, the political party of Saleh welcomes a U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire in the country, urging all involved in the conflict, including a Saudi-led Arab coalition, to observe it.
In a statement issued Sunday on its website, Ali Abdullah Saleh’s General People’s Congress said that it would “respond positively” to the U.N. Security Council resolution issued last week
“(The party) welcomes the U.N. Secretary-General’s call to for a cease-fire from all sides and a return to dialogue under the auspices of the United Nations,” it said. It added that it urged parties “inside and outside” the country to respond to the call.
The resolution demands that all Yemeni parties, especially the Houthis, end violence and return swiftly to U.N.-led peace talks aimed at a political transition. It makes no mention of the Saudi-led airstrikes targeting the rebels and pro-Saleh forces.
Saudi-owned Arabiya TV, citing a Gulf official, said representatives of Saleh had visited Arab capitals and floated an initiative for him and his family to leave safely.
Saleh scoffed at the report. “I’m not the type of person who goes looking for a place to live in Jeddah, Paris or Europe. My country is my birthplace. The person who can say to Ali Abdullah Saleh ‘leave your country’ has not been and will not be born,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
Saleh, once backed by Saudi Arabia, is widely regarded as one of the Middle East’s most skilled political operators.
Despite being forced to step down in 2012 under a Gulf-brokered transition plan following protests against his 22-year rule, he won immunity in the deal and has remained a powerful political player.