Sheik Abdul-Majid al-Zindani's comments reflected a deep mistrust among Yemenis of Washington's intentions as it ramps up counterterrorism aid and training for San'a to combat Al Qaeda's offshoot here.
Al-Zindani, a radical cleric who once associated with Usama bin Laden in Afghanistan, is highly influential among Yemenis and the government is careful to maintain at least his tacit support.
"We accept any cooperation in the framework of respect and joint interests, and we reject military occupation of our country. And we don't accept the return of colonialization," al-Zindani told reporters.
"Yemen's rulers and people must be careful before a (foreign) guardianship is imposed on them," he said. "The day parliament allows the occupation of Yemen, the people will rise up against it and bring it down."
President Obama said he does not plan to send American combat forces to Yemen, and San'a has said it will not allow such a deployment.
"I have no intention of sending U.S. boots on the ground in these regions," Obama said in an interview with People magazine to be published Friday.
U.S. military personnel are helping train Yemeni counterterror forces and gave Yemeni forces intelligence and logistical help in heavy airstrikes last month against suspected Al Qaeda hideouts that Yemen says killed dozens of militants.
Al-Zindani is a controversial figure in Yemeni politics.
The United States has labeled him a "global terrorist," alleging he helps fund and recruit for A Qaeda and that students from Iman University — which he heads — were involved in past attacks.
But Yemen's government courts his support. The deputy prime minister last week denied al-Zindani is a member of Al Qaeda.
Addressing a news conference held at his San'a home, al-Zindani denied U.S. accusations against him, saying "it's become well known among the people that a lot of lies come out of" Washington.
He also denied any knowledge of Al Qaeda's activities in Yemen. He also denied he had any influence on an American-Yemeni radical preacher Anwar al-Awlaki, who is being hunted by Yemeni forces for alleged Al Qaeda links.
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