Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Global capitals yesterday witnessed a wave of diplomatic resignations, with a number of Yemeni ambassadors to foreign countries announcing their resignation against the backdrop of violence and casualties amongst the Yemeni protestors who have been calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down from power.
This wave of Yemeni foreign ambassadors announcing their support for the anti-Saleh protestors did not pass Riyadh by, and yesterday at 3 pm Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia Mohamed Ali al-Ahwal announced his support for the Yemeni protest movement that is demanding regime change. This announcement from the Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia has not received any official comment from the Saudi government, with Riyadh announcing that it considers this to be an “internal Yemeni affair.”
Commenting on the Yemeni ambassador’s statement in support of the anti-Saleh protestors, Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Osama Nuqli told Asharq Al-Awsat that “this is a completely Yemeni affair…and Saudi Arabia has no involvement in this.”
Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohamed al-Ahwal, is considered to be one of the most effective Arab ambassadors in Riyadh, and he announced his support of the Yemeni protest movements and their demands for regime change, after dozens of Yemeni military and tribal figures had done the same.
Ambassador Mohamed al-Ahwal made this announcement to Agence France-Presse [AFP] by telephone, saying “I announce my support for the youth revolution, and for change in Yemen.”
Mohamed al-Ahwal’s last public appearance was his attendance of the King Faisal International Prize ceremony which was held last week in Riyadh.
Sources close to the Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia informed Asharq Al-Awsat that he had not disclosed his intention to announce his support for the protestors or for regime change prior to this. The sources also speculated that al-Ahwal was forced to take this decision after being placed under pressure as a result of tribal loyalties.
Yemeni ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohamed al-Ahwal, was known for taking a hard-line against the Shiite Huthi rebels, and he was unable to hide his outrage when a group of Huthi rebels infiltrated Saudi territory and attacked Saudi infrastructure, which led to a 100-day war between the Saudi military and the Huthi rebels. Mohamed al-Ahwal is also known to be a close confidant of Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qarbi, who some reports claim arrived in Saudi Arabia yesterday to ask Riyadh to mediate in Yemen’s internal affairs, which are becoming increasingly complex day by day.