Hadi struggles to calm media war
The meeting was held after ministers from Saleh’s party in the interim government attempted on Tuesday, March 20 to boycott the cabinet’s meeting in protest of a speech made on the previous day by prime minister Mohamed Salem Basindwa.
“The national unity government has a national, regional and international task in carrying out the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative and United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution 2014,” said Hadi during the government meeting at the Republican Palace in Sana’a.
“The government must address the aspirations of the Yemeni people and meet citizens> basic needs,” said the president.
“This is a reconciliation government that has nothing to do with partisan work of any kind,” he added.
Hadi’s meeting came after GCC witnesses made a statement on Thursday, March 22 that warned parties against interfering with the initiative>s implementation or of hindering the government>s performance in any way.
“The Witnesses of the GCC Agreement, recalling the obligations of all parties under the GCC Agreement and UNSC resolution 2014, also recall that all parties are accountable for their actions,” read the statement, which was posted on the website of the US Embassy in Yemen.
“It is not acceptable for any party to interfere in the GCC agreement>s implementation. We call on all parties to calm the rhetoric in the media,” witnesses of the GCC initiative said.
“We reaffirm our unequivocal commitment to the process and our support for President Hadi and the National Unity Government,” the statement concluded.
Media war between Saleh and new regime
The threat of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to arrest Prime Minister Mohammad Salem Basindwa and throw him in jail, marks the latest climax in a media war raging between Saleh and the new Yemeni regime.
A member of the executive authority of the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), Abdullah Ali Sabri, anticipated that the media war will continue to escalate until the reorganization of the military as stipulated under the GCC-mediated power transfer deal.
Sabri told the Yemen Times that the media war between Saleh along with the remnants of his old regime on one hand, and Basindwa and the JMP on the other, does not pose a real threat to the interim government. He suggested that both sides were merely seeking to improve their hands at the table when arriving at the up-coming national conference.
Sabri said that Saleh was seeking to convey a message to those who will be involved in the dialogue conference, so as to hinder the debate about a military shake-up.
“The heat of the media confrontation between the remains of the old regime and the new regime affirms that political forces both inside and outside the government are heading towards the dialogue,” he added.
Sabri said that Hadi has formed a high committee to form a unified political policy that suits the current stage of the transition and avoid any side effects on the dialogue. The committee included Yaseen Saeed Noaman, and Abdul-Wahab Al-Anisi from the JMP, and Abdul-Kareem Al-Eryani and Ahmed Bin Daghar from the General People Congress (GPC).
It is expected that this committee will ease tensions as its members have the experience and ability to deal with the crisis.
Fakhr Al-Azab, a spokesman for the organization committee at Change Square in Sana’a, said that the talk about the end of the sit-ins at the squares was “in a state of delirium,” regarding the rhetoric from Saleh and his aides.
“Saleh tries to put conditions on the military reorganization including the end of the sit-ins, but this contradicts UN Security Council Resolution No. 2014 that dealt with the change and ‘Freedom Squares’ as separate from the JMP and its partners or the GPC and its partners,” Al-Azab told the Yemen Times.
CNN has quoted Yahya Al-Arasi, a spokesman for President Hadi, as saying that “Differences have increased between Saleh and the new regime since Hadi said he was planning to carry out major reforms.
“As a result, Saleh has threatened to put Prime Minister Basindwa in prison if he does not obey his orders,” Al-Arasi said.
“Saleh does not seem to realize that he is no longer president, and that could push the country into turmoil,” he added. “Saleh must leave the country if the global community wants to see a stable Yemen.”
“The former president is attempting to make the situation more complicated and difficult for factions to carry out reforms in Yemen” he added.
Al-Arasi said that Hadi had taken precautionary measures and that he will announce the formation of a new unity government if Saleh orders his party officials to resign from their posts.
A senior official of the GPC told CNN that Saleh was angered by the positions taken by the president and the prime minister.
Media sources within the GPC have revealed that in the past few days, the GPC has threatened to withdraw all the members of its party from the national government in an attempt to hinder the political process and the performance of the interim government.
Ministers in the GPC arrived at cabinet one and half hours late on Tuesday due to disagreements amongst themselves. This came following threats by Saleh to withdraw GPC ministers from the interim government in response to Basindwa accusing Saleh of hindering the performance of the government.