After a year of protests against his rule, President Saleh made way for Hadi in February under a Gulf-brokered transition plan backed by Washington and its Western allies.
FEARS OF CHAOS
But the former president’s continuing clout in the army and wider society worries its neighbours and Western nations who fear further conflict could plunge Yemen back into chaos.
The agreement, signed in Saudi Arabia, aims to hold Yemen together in the face of crippling economic woes, internal divisions and separatist movements, as well as the challenge from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen.
Ahmed Saleh’s apparent decision to give up some of his heaviest weapons could smoothe the way for national reconciliation talks foreseen under the power transfer deal.
Senior diplomats of 10 countries, including Gulf Arab states, European Union members, the United States and Russia, agreed in Sanaa in September to recommend that their governments start preparing possible measures against transition “spoilers”.
“The message of the U.N. Security Council is clear that it will not allow obstructing the political settlement in Yemen,” U.N. envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar told Reuters on Thursday.
Lawlessness in Yemen has alarmed neighbour and top world oil exporter Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States, which increasingly view the impoverished Arab state as a front line in their struggle against al Qaeda and its affiliates.