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The New Arab

Yemen's deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh 'secretly visited Cairo'

Saleh (C) allegedly visited Cairo despite a UNSC travel ban [AFP]

Date of publication: 17 December, 2016

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Yemen's deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh who is co-leading a rebellion against the President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, secretly visited Cairo, official Egyptian sources have revealed.
Yemen's deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh - a leading figure in the military campaign against current head of state Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi - has allegedly paid a secret visit to Cairo to meet Egyptian officials, sources have told The New Arab.

The visit took place recently and the revelations could further sour relations between Cairo and Riyadh due to Saudi Arabia's leading role in the Arab coalition against Saleh loyalists and the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

During the visit, Saleh discussed the Yemeni crisis and possible solutions with Egyptian officials, the sources told The New Arab's sister publication in Arabic.

The sources speculated that Cairo may be moving against the alleged Saudi bid to rehabilitate al-Islah, the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned party in Yemen.

Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed his predecessor Mohamed Morsi - a Muslim Brotherhood-aligned Islamist - in a military coup in 2013. Since then he has led a bloody crackdown on Islamist, secular and liberal opposition groups.
The UN Security Council imposed sanctions and a travel ban on Saleh in 2014 for threatening peace and obstructing the political process in Yemen
Statements by Gen. Murad al-Obali, commander of the 62nd brigade of the Republican Guard loyal to Saleh, seem to corroborate the revelations. In a brief post on Facebook, Obali wrote that Saleh had recently travelled outside of Yemen and returned in the past few days, without offering further details.

The UN Security Council imposed sanctions and a travel ban on Saleh in 2014 for threatening peace and obstructing the political process in Yemen.

A statement by Saleh's General People's Congress Party said the Security Council denied a request by Saleh to travel to Cuba following the death of Fidel Castro two weeks ago.

If true, Saleh's visit to Cairo could anger Saudi Arabia.

Relations between the two countries have been strained in recent months over a number of issues. Disagreements became public following Egypt's perceived pivot towards the Syrian regime, Iran and Russia.

There has also been a fallout from the botched transfer of Egyptian Red Sea islands to Saudi sovereignty, which many in Riyadh view as a betrayal by Sisi.

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