The Yemeni activist and winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, Tawakkul Karman, said that the Yemeni youth would continue their peaceful revolution.
In an interview with Al Arabiya TV from Paris that aired on Thursday, Karman said that her country’s rebels do not ask anything of the international community except that it freeze the bank accounts of Yemen’s president, Ali Saleh.
On Monday, European officials said they would discuss freezing Ali’s assets, and those of his entourage, next week as the bloc attempts to convince him to stand down in line with a deal brokered by Gulf Arab states, France’s foreign minister, Alain Juppe, said.
The Gulf-brokered power transfer plan does provide for the safe exit of Saleh, something the opposition in Yemen is against.
Karman said that Saleh is targeting “peaceful” Yemenis via “collective punishment.”
“There is no oil, electricity, water; he is just punishing people for asking for their freedom and dignity and for choosing peaceful ways in their fight.”
Asked about the international community’s fears that Yemen is sliding into civil war, Karman said that Saleh wants Yemenis to be divided and fight among themselves.
“Saleh wants the war scenario, so he can exit the revolution crisis. But the rebels will stay peaceful, and they know that their peaceful revolution will continue.”
She said that the world must believe in Yemenis and their peaceful revolution, because they will surprise the world by creating a “modern, civilian and a democratic state.”
Karman said the international community had a moral obligation to help stop the carnage in Yemen. She said that as many as 21,000 Yemenis have been killed or injured since the revolution began.
“The people have asked to topple the regime,” she said, adding, “Saleh used to feed it for the past 33 years with corruption, fear tactics, divisions, wars, and terrorism, to make the country under his control.”
In October, Karman met with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon. She described the meeting as “good” and said that he promised a veto of any measures guaranteeing Saleh’s safe exit from the killing and pillaging of public money.
She also met with the U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, and was impressed by her promises. She said that even though the U.S. is not an ICC member state, Clinton promised her that she will lobby the U.S.’s allies to push for the prosecution of Saleh.