Yemen: President's offer of talks is rejected by political opposition

Ahmed Al-Haj,Associated Press,In Sana'a
Monday 21 February 2011 01:00 GMT

Yemen's embattled President yesterday sought a way out of the political crisis gripping his impoverished nation, offering to oversee a dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition to defuse the stand-off with protesters demanding that he go.

The offer by the American-backed President Ali Abdullah Saleh – which opposition groups swiftly rejected – came as protests calling for him to quit continued in at least four cities around the country for the 11th straight day.

A health official in the southern city of Aden said yesterday that a 16-year-old boy died the night before from wounds suffered at a protest, bringing the countrywide death toll to eight since the protests began.

Protests continued yesterday, with 3,000 university students marching in Sana'a, the capital. Demonstrations were also held in Aden's Mansoura district, the town of Taiz and the province of al-Hadida.

Mr Saleh's rule continues to show signs of resilience in the face of the sustained protests that have seen security forces and regime supporters battling demonstrators. But the Yemeni regime is not doing as well in the south of the country, where resentment of Mr Saleh's rule is far more entrenched and a secessionist movement is steadily gaining strength. South Yemen used to be an independent nation, but became united with the north in 1990.

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