The Cable

Yemen's president apologizes for blaming America

The White House said on Wednesday that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called Obama's top counterterrorism advisor John Brennan this morning to apologize for publicly accusing the United States and Israel of conspiring to destabilize the Arab world.

The office of White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a readout of the call, which said that Saleh "conveyed his regret for misunderstandings related to his public remarks."

In those remarks, delivered at Sanaa University on Tuesday, Saleh said, "There's an operations room in Tel Aviv with the aim of destabilizing the Arab world" and that it is "run by the White House."

Saleh, who receives hundreds of millions of dollars in direct military aid from the United States, also accused President Barack Obama of meddling in the Middle East. "Mr Obama, you're the president of the United States; you're not the president of the Arab world," he said.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley responded on Tuesday via a message on Twitter. "The protests in Yemen are not the product of external conspiracies. President Saleh knows better. His people deserve a better response," he tweeted.

According to the White House readout, Saleh "also said that he is firmly committed to meaningful political reform in Yemen and that he is reaching out to opposition elements in an effort to achieve reform through a democratic, inclusive, and peaceful process."

Meanwhile, anti-government protests hit Yemen again on Wednesday, with protesters reiterating their call for Saleh to end his 32-year rule.

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