Yemeni news outlets are reporting that Ethiopia agreed to host their former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The request was made by the Yemeni foreign minister who visited Ethiopia on April 30 and delivered a letter from President Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi to Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, according to reports on several Yemeni media.
Official report of the visit from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time indicated that:
the letter dealt with re-activating the role of the Sana’a Forum, which involves Ethiopia, Sudan, Yemen, and Djibouti. The letter also covered other matters including counterterrorism cooperation and regional and international issues of common concern, particularly the situations in Somalia and Sudan.
The official report also stated that:
During the discussions, Prime Minister Meles told Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi that Ethiopia was determined to work with neighboring countries to ensure durable peace in the region. Instability in Yemen should, of course, be addressed by Yemenis but Ethiopia was prepared to extend all necessary support for such a cause.
Now, it appears the Yemeni’s letter included an official request for hosting former President Saleh for a duration of two years, when Yemen’s next presidential election is to be held.
The news also indicated that the Ethiopian government has allocated a residence, near the Yemen Embassy in Addis Ababa, and agreed to assign personal security guards for the former President.
One media claimed that Ambassadors of Gulf Countries in Addis Ababa were ‘surprised by the development’ without explaining why.
Another media indicated that Ethiopia sought the consent of the current Yemeni president, for fear that she may not be able to control frm. president Saleh who is still a key player in his country’s politics.
Former president Saleh resigned, after years of political unrest, based a deal brokered by the Gulf Countries Council that gave him immunity and outlined a two years transitional period led by his deputy, current president, Hadi. Saleh is still chair of his party that is currently engaged in a political wrestling with the current president and other political forces in the country
One Yemeni pro-government media claimed Saleh has categorically refused even to contemplate exile, though the news might be a media spin to boost the political stature of the man.
There is no official comment from either government on the matter.
* Sources: Alahale.net(Arabic), YemeniObserver(English), Khaleejtimes.com(Arabic), and Yemenispace.net(Arabic).
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