Yemen opposition to declare formation of National Ruling Council to lead country during post-Saleh era

Yemen opposition to declare formation of National Ruling Council to lead country during post-Saleh era

The Yemeni opposition coalition said on Tuesday it will declare a formation of "National Ruling Council " to rule the country during transitional period without President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is in Saudi Arabia to rehabilitate from injuries from a June attack, Xinhua reported.

The decision of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) came a day after the U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that his country believes that Yemen can move forward with a transition without President Saleh.

"The JMP set August 17 for a meeting to declare the formation of the National Ruling Council, which will head the Yemeni anti- Saleh forces to accomplish the political change and rule the country during the upcoming post-Saleh transitional period," the JMP said in a statement obtained by Xinhua.

The veteran president was discharged from the Saudi Military Hospital on Saturday to a Saudi government compound for recuperation following two-month treatment of injuries he sustained in an assassination bomb attack on his presidential palace on June 3.

Some local lawyers said earlier that according to the Yemeni Constitution, Saleh is no longer the legal president of the country as he was under incapacity for more than 60 days and Yemen is in power vacuum, the power should be immediately moved to his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The charge was strongly rebuffed by the government officials who argued that President Saleh is not under incapacity as he kept issuing directions to the government and met top U.S. officials to discuss the bilateral relations between the two countries during his period in Riyadh.

The state-run Saba news agency cited an unnamed official of the presidential official as saying that President Saleh will come back to Yemen after the recuperation period set by doctors in the Saudi capital of Riyadh. The official, however, did not say whether Saleh would resume his presidential duties or quit.

The June 3 attack, which severely injured Saleh along with 87 high-ranking government officials and killed 13 others, took place the following day after Saleh backed out for the third times from signing a power-transition deal initiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) between him and the leaders of the opposition JMP.

Meanwhile, a government official told Xinhua on Tuesday that " GCC and U.S. efforts were underway to press President Saleh to sign the GCC initiative to facilitate the power transition peacefully for the sake of the region's security and stability situations."

"The efforts are expected to be released for pubic with next six days at most," he said on condition of anonymity.

In Sanaa, the U.S. ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein told reporters on Tuesday that "it's not a matter whether Saleh prefers to stay in Riyadh or return to Sanaa. What matters to Washington was that President Saleh has to move the power to his deputy Hadi based on the GCC initiative and abandon his post."

"Washington has confidence in the abilities of the Vice President Hadi," Feierstein said, adding that he has met Hadi for about 13 times to discuss the political standoff since June 3.

"Hadi, who was assigned as acting president following the departure of Saleh has gained Washington's full confidence, not only to accomplish the transition of power, but also to lead Yemen during the transition phase," Feierstein added.

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