Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

AP News
|
Posted: May 23, 2011 3:24 PM
Latest developments in Arab world's unrest

___

YEMEN

Security forces and opposition tribal fighters battle with automatic weapons, mortars and tanks in the Yemeni capital, blasting buildings and setting government offices on fire in an eruption of violence after President Ali Abdullah Saleh refuses to sign an agreement to step down. At least five people are killed in the fighting, the fiercest yet between the pro- and anti-Saleh camps, which raises fears that the collapse of efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution to Yemen's 3-month-old crisis could throw the country into a violent confrontation. The U.S. Embassy in Yemen closes its consular section for two days and orders its personnel to stay out of a district in the capital because of unrest.

___

LIBYA

The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in the Middle East visits in the de facto rebel capital in eastern Libya, a show of growing support for the loosely formed movement that seeks to oust longtime ruler Moammar Gadhafi. A State Department statement calls the visit by Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, "another signal of the U.S.'s support" for the rebels' National Transitional Council, which it calls "a legitimate and credible interlocutor for the Libyan people." Rebel spokesman Abdel-Hafidh Ghoga says the country faces a "major humanitarian disaster" in its western Nafusa mountains, where residents say government troops have been cutting supply lines to communities. "They are more or less boiling the leaves of trees" to survive, Ghoga says.

___

SYRIA

Activists cancel the first government-approved demonstration in the capital since the government lifted a 48-year-old state of emergency last month. The silent candlelight vigil in a Damascus public garden was to have honored some 900 people who have been killed since the uprising against President Bashar Assad's rule began in mid-March Some opponents of Assad have been saying in recent days that they planned to continue the vigil until the regime fell. Syria's foreign minister acknowledges that U.S. and EU sanctions will hurt Syrian interests, but he says the country will not allow foreign countries to impose their will on Syria.