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Yemen accuses Qatar of funding dissent

Yemeni officials made fresh accusations Wednesday that Qatar is conspiring to destabilise its regime after allegedly intercepting financial transfers from its gas-rich neighbour that were aimed at "supporting rifts inside Yemen's army".


AFP - Yemen said Wednesday it intercepted financial transfers made through Qatar to fund dissidents, warning the energy rich Gulf state to stop supporting divisions in the strife-torn country.

"The authorities have discovered transactions made through Qatar and the mediator in this is our former ambassador (in Cairo) Abdulwali al-Shumeiri," deputy information minister Abdo al-Janadi told reporters.

"We call onto Qatar... to stop financially supporting rifts inside Yemen's army and to work instead on (backing) the country's security and stability," said Janadi.

Rifts have emerged in Yemen's military over the last three months with major army divisions in the capital Sanaa and the second-largest city Taez announcing their defections in March and May respectively.

Gas-rich Qatar's role now "is neither in its benefit nor in the benefit of other countries across the region," he added.

Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is recovering in Saudi Arabia from wounds sustained in a blast that hit his presidential palace in Sanaa, accused Qatar in April of a "conspiracy" against his country.

He also accused it of "funding chaos" throughout several Arab countries rocked by a wave of protests that toppled regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, inspiring similar uprising in other countries including Yemen.

Meanwhile, as tens of thousands of Yemenis protested in Sanaa pressuring Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi to form an interim ruling council, Janadi insisted "Saleh's health is constantly improving and he will return to the country within the coming days."

"The opposition and the protesters are demanding Hadi to form a transitional council, whereas Hadi is also the deputy leader of the ruling General People's Congress and his interest is the same as that of the president who is currently ruling the country," said Janadi.

Forming a transitional council "will not be accepted by Hadi," he said.

"We cannot convince Saleh to step down and it will be very good if the president agrees to quit after one year," said Janadi. Saleh's term ends in 2013 and the president had promised he will not run for another term.

Saleh told King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia Tuesday that his health was "constantly improving," Yemen's official Saba news agency said.

King Abdullah reiterated Saudi Arabia's support for a "united, secure and stable Yemen," Saba added.

Despite strong Western and Arab Gulf pressure, Saleh has repeatedly refused to sign up to the proposals under which he would hand power to the vice president within 30 days in exchange for a promise of immunity from prosecution.

At least 200 protesters have been killed in Yemen in five months of protests demanding the ouster of Saleh, who has been in office since 1978.


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