Yemen president grants amnesty to northern-southern separatists

Saleh's offer is the furthest he has gone in his bid for reconciliation.

Yemen president grants amnesty to northern-southern separatists

Yemen's president granted amnesty to imprisoned northern Houthi fighters and southern separatists on Monday, and offered his opponents the chance to take part in the country's political process.

"We welcome national partnership with all political forces in light of the constitution and law, and within the framework of a collective agreement," Ali Abdul Saleh said in a speech marking the 20th anniversary of Yemeni unity.

Saleh's offer is the furthest he has gone in his bid for reconciliation.

In his speech, Saleh said "a government could be formed from all influential political forces represented in the parliament".

North and south Yemen formally united in 1990 but many in the south, where most of impoverished Yemen's oil facilities are located, complain northerners usurp the south's resources, warp its identity and deny southerners' political rights.

"On this great national occasion we give our directives to release all detainees imprisoned for sedition among the Houthis (Northern rebels) in Saada and also detainees who violated the law in some (southern) directorates in the provinces of Lahaj, Abyan and al Dalea," Saleh said.

Northern fighters recently said 600 from their ranks have been detained, while southern oppositionists say 108 of their members are being held. The government says it has no official record of detainment numbers for either group.

Calling for participation in national dialogue from political organizations "inside and outside the homeland," Saleh said such actions "reflects our keenness to turn over a new page.

Reuters

Last Mod: 23 Mayıs 2010, 11:46
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