Yemen’s Saleh sacks regional governors as protests

Yemen’s Saleh sacks regional governors as protests
# 01 March 2011 23:09 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA.Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday dismissed governors of five provinces, amid growing demands by protestors across the country for him to leave office, APA reports quoting website.

Saleh issued decrees moving governors of the southern provinces of Aden, Lahej, Abyan and Hadhramout and the western province of Houdieda to government posts in the capital Sana’a, the official Saba news agency said.

The five governors are members of Saleh’s ruling General People’s Congress party. They were elected in the county’s first direct election of provincial governors in 2008.

It was not immediately clear whether Saleh will appoint replacements.

Saba said Saleh chaired a meeting of the cabinet on Tuesday and announced the postponement of forming a national unity government until an agreement on it with the opposition is reached.

On Monday, the main opposition party, Islah, rebuffed an invitation from Saleh to join a national unity government.

The creation of a national unity government is part of an eight- point plan proposed by Saleh as a response to protesters demanding his resignation.

Islah leads a group of opposition parties grouped under the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) alliance.

The JMP is organized protests on Tuesday that drew tens of thousands of supporters in the capital Sana’a and five other main cities.

Saleh on Tuesday accused Israel of financing and plotting the protests in his country and other Arab states and criticized the US President Barak Obama for supporting change.

"They (the protests) are being directed by the White House and the control centre for destabilizing the Arab world is in Tel Aviv," Saleh said in a speech to a gathering of Sanaa University professors and students.

"We want to know why Barak Obama is meddling in the affairs of the Arab countries," he said. "Is Obama the president of the United States of America or a president of the Arab states?"

Saleh, a key US ally in the fight against terrorism, is under mounting pressure by daily protests demanding an end to his 32-year-old rule.