Yemen’s presidential elections will be held as scheduled toward the end of February, the foreign minister said on Wednesday, countering his own observation a day earlier. Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, a veteran of President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s regime, told Al-Arabiya television on Tuesday that it would difficult to have presidential elections if the security situation is not resolved. After a series of meetings with American and U.N diplomats, al-Qirbi backtracked, saying that his government was committed to holding presidential elections on February 21. It appeared, however, that the subject was not closed.
A top ruling party official told The Associated Press that Saleh met with high-level security officials this week and decided to ask parliament to delay the elections until May 22, which would be a violation of the U.S.-backed agreement the president signed in November. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.