Yemeni envoys to several countries back anti-regime protests

"After our long waiting for our homeland's voice and interest to win, we declare our total support to the (Yemeni) youth (protesting against the regime) and their demands" for ouster of 65-year-old Saleh, said a statement jointly signed by Yemen's Ambassadors to Pakistan, Qatar, Oman and Spain as well as its Consul in Dubai.

They decided to support the protesters  "after developments have reached this turn, which threatens Yemen, its unity and its people's security," Gulf News daily reported today quoting the statement.

"We urge the rulers of the country and the wise people in the army, public institutions, thinkers and scholars to make the interest of the country and its people prevail over their personal and family interests," the statement said, backing the "demands for freedom and dignity" in Yemen.

Yemen's Ambassadors to Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Syria, China and Japan and its representative to the Arab League had earlier yesterday announced their support for ongoing public protests back home, the paper said.

Several military commanders and tribal chiefs in Yemen have already announced their support for pro-democracy protesters, Al-Jazeera said. The developments led to tanks being deployed yesterday on the streets of the capital Sanaa and prompted the Yemeni Defence Minister to declare that the army still backed the President.

"The armed forces will stay faithful to the oath they gave before God, the nation and political leadership under the brother President Ali Abdullah Saleh," Mohammed Nasser Ahmed was quoted as saying by the Arab channel.

"We will not allow under any circumstances an attempt at a coup against democracy and constitutional legitimacy, or violation of the security of the nation and citizens." Major-General Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar, the head of the north western military zone and the first armoured division, announced his support for the uprising against the President following a brutal crackdown on the protesters.

Other high-ranking officers who have defected included Brigadiers Hameed Al Koshebi and Mohammed Ali Mohsen. General Ali Abdullaha Aliewa, an adviser to the Yemeni supreme leader of the army, also deserted the President.

Their defections yesterday came a day after crowds flooded cities and towns across Yemen to mourn the 52 protesters killed on Friday when Saleh's security forces opened fire from rooftops on a demonstration in Sanaa.

Abdullah Alsaidi, Yemen's ambassador to the UN, told Al Jazeera: "I think there is now a demand for change and we are all for a peaceful change. I appeal to the President
and to all the others to work for a peaceful transfer of power." Calling for a political solution to the current unrest in Yemen, the US has said that there is a need for a government that is responsive and representative.

"We continue to underscore that a political solution that leads to a government that is more responsive to the Yemeni people is going to have to be the way through this situation, not violence," Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes said in Washington.

Expressing concern over the violence in Yemen, Rhodes said the US communicated to the Yemeni government that any kind of violence is unacceptable.

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