Yemen President Apologizes for Blaming Unrest on Israel, U.S.

The White House reports that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh expressed regret for his previous claim that Israel and the U.S. are responsible for the popular protest movements sweeping the Arab world.

Yemen's president telephoned Washington on Wednesday to express his regret for any misunderstanding caused by his public accusations that the U.S. and Israel are behind the unrest threatening his 32-year rule, the White House said.

Homeland security adviser John Brennan told President Ali Abdullah Saleh that he appreciated the call, but said that comments seeking to lay blame for recent developments in the region are unhelpful as they "ignore the legitimate aspirations of people in the Arab world."

yemen - AP - March 1 2011
AP

On Tuesday, Saleh accused President Barack Obama of meddling in the affairs of Arab countries. He asked whether Obama was president of the United States or president of the Arab world. Saleh also said Israel was behind the protest movement.

Thousands of people have been demonstrating across the Middle Eastern country in support of democratic change and Saleh's ouster.

Saleh also reaffirmed his commitment to meaningful political reform in Yemen. "President Saleh also said … that he is reaching out to opposition elements in an effort to achieve reform through a democratic, inclusive, and peaceful process," Brennan related of his conversation with Saleh.