MOSCOW, November 24 (Itar-Tass) — The resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh pins hopes that the Arab country will not explode after all and that the former leader will avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Gaddafi, Russian Federation Council Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Mikhail Margelov said on Thursday.
“After Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed an agreement on handover of power in Saudi Arabia, we can say that one stage of the crisis in the country has ended,” Margelov told Itar-Tass. “The handover of power in Yemen pins hopes that the country, which is located near neighbouring oil-producing Saudi Arabia, will not explode after all. It is likely Saleh will avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Gaddafi because he signed the abdication in exchange for immunity,” the legislator stressed.
Margelov rivets much attention to an agreement reached by Saleh and the opposition by taking into account the fact that Yemen “is the most radical country in the Middle East with severe traditions of getting rid of rivals”. “In Yemen there are dozens of thousands of militants – shootees in Iraq and Afghanistan. Members of Al Qaeda also operate in the country. In Yemen, like as in Libya, the society is based on tribes. The population in Libya was of 6.5 million people. Yemen has almost 24 million people. In addition, the population in Yemen has arms and weapons supplies do not interrupt,” he said.
Although the legislator withheld comments on further events in Yemen, he noted, “It seems the rule is in effect under which the Arab spring inevitably leads to the ‘patriarchs’ autumn’.”
President Saleh signed an agreement on November 23 immediately transferring power to his vice president, following months of street demonstrations that called for his resignation. The agreement effectively ends Mr. Saleh’s 33 years of authoritarian rule, making him the fourth leader forced from power by the Arab Spring revolts.
The deal allows Mr. Saleh to retain his title and certain privileges until new elections are held in three months and grants him immunity from prosecution.
Mr. Saleh’s opponents and Yemen’s foreign allies, including the United States, had put increasing pressure on Mr. Saleh to sign a deal, warning that the country, stalled by protests and wracked by successive rounds of bloody factional fighting, is on the brink of collapse. The fighting has crippled the country’s already sputtering economy and the central government is rapidly losing what little control it had of outlying provinces.
During the three months he was gone, the chaos and conflict in Yemen deepened. But upon his return in September 2011, it only seemed to get worse. After he issued a vaguely worded pledge to step aside in October he quickly reneged. Shortly afterward, security forces fired on protesters and full-blown street battles between the government and powerful tribal factions ripped apart the capital of Sana.