Friday, 20 May 2011

Yemen: Saleh refused to step-down, again

Yemen's long-term President Ali Abdullah Saleh has once again agreed and then refused to sign a power sharing agreement, brokered by the Gulf. The deal, which was originally to be signed last month, was cancelled at the last minute.

The agreement, which has been subject to amendments after US and European intervention, was also expected to be overseen by both Yemen's General People's Congress party and the opposition, the Common Front.

Yemeni opposition officials have said that the agreement would have seen Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for over three decades, out of office within a month.

Discussions about the ongoing crisis in the country and arrangements for Saleh's departure broke down on Wednesday 18th May, when Saleh once again refused to sign the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) mediated deal which would have allowed him to step-down in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Saleh's rebuff has prompted GCC chief, Abdul-Latif Al-Zayyani, to leave the country.

The president's aide, Ahmed Al-Sufi, confirmed that Saleh was not going to attend the newly scheduled signing on Sunday 22nd May. According to the spokesman, Saleh changed his mind due to the ongoing international diplomatic pressure.

Speaking about the situation in Yemen, US President Barack Obama said: "President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power.''

Sources: BBC News, Aljazeera, Voice of America, Reuters

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

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