Saleh ‘has fled Yemen’

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin attends a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Sharm el Sheik, South Sinai, Egypt, in this March 26, 2015 photo.

Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassin attends a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Sharm el Sheik, South Sinai, Egypt, in this March 26, 2015 photo.


Yemeni Foreign Minister Riad Yassine has claimed that the ousted former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh had left Yemen on a Russian airplane sent to Sanaa to evacuate Russian diplomats.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News, he said the airplane was delayed at the airport for more than 12 hours to get him on board.

Yassine said the legitimate Yemeni government has sent messages to Ahmad bin Dager, Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, Yahya Al-Raie and Aref Al-Zoka asking for their stances regarding the legitimacy of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

“Those people were very close to Ali Abdullah Saleh and we hope that they will stand firmly now on the side of the people,” he said, adding: “We stretch out our hands to them and tell those people that we understand the special circumstances which obliged them to cooperate with Saleh.”

Yassine confirmed that the coalition troops had assured Hadi of successful efforts to deliver military aid by air to the popular committees in Aden. He said the military operation had bombed about 85 percent of the arms warehouses.

“At the moment, we are not asking coalition troops to advance with tanks and weaponry into Yemen, but only to intervene to help the popular committees fighting the insurgents who rebelled against the legitimacy of President Hadi,” he said.

Yassine said the Houthis and Saleh were targeting all that was useful in Yemen, such as the cement factory and the dairy products plant. “Both plants belonged to important Yemeni merchants with strong trading links to Saudi Arabia,” he said, adding that an international investigation will soon be carried out on these two attacks.

“We are sure that Saleh is closely linked with the Al-Qaeda terrorist group. He has been funding the group since the beginning. The United Nations notified us that it would reconsider the close affiliation between Saleh and Al-Qaeda in light of the discovery of a number of documents,” he said.

He confirmed that once the situation in Aden was more secure and peaceful, support in terms of field hospitals will be available to the people. This support will depend on the return of the legitimate government.

Yassine said when the Houthis earlier took possession of weapons and arms, a delegation was sent to Tehran to sign agreements, including opening air links and flights between Tehran and Sanaa. “Tehran promised the Houthis to supply them with oil free of charge for one whole year. Some 1,500 Houthis have been trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in the city of Qom. However, now that the coalition troops have closed all entry points into the country, Iran has been unable to offer any help.”


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