One year after officially stepping down, the ousted leader of Yemen urged his country to forgive and forget, an apparent assertion of his continued political role in the fractured nation.
“We call for reconciliation, shaking hands and forgiveness of the past to build a new Yemen,” Ali Abdullah Saleh told tens of thousands of cheering supporters gathered in Sana, the capital, the Associated Press reported. “Forget about the past and look at the future.”
Saleh faces accusations of sabotaging the shift to democracy in Yemen, where the longtime strongman relinquished power in exchange for immunity from charges. The Wednesday speech marked the first anniversary of the transition of power to Yemen's new president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, in a formal ceremony. The deal followed protracted negotiations and a year of deadly protests, as Saleh manuevered to avoid prosecution.
The United Nations Security Council recently warned Saleh and his allies that he could face sanctions if there were continued attempts to undermine the fledgling government, saying it was troubled by reports that money and weapons were flowing into Yemen for such an effort.