GCC-US proposition to Yemen's Saleh

Ahram Online and Reuters, Saturday 16 Apr 2011

Opposition says 'no deal' to GCC-US deal that gives Saleh impunity and transition time, meanwhile Saleh issues a statement accepting the proposition

The Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh is set to leave in 30 days in accordance with a US-set schedule for a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)  initiative, a media report said.

An independent Yemeni newspaper referred to reliable sources saying that the US ambassador and EU ambassadors presented a schedule to lay down the initiative suggested by the GCC.

The plan entails handing down Saleh’s authority to the vice president within 30 days, with the transfer occurring in no more than a week after naming the new VP.

The offer guarantees Saleh will not be prosecuted.

The GCC initiative also included the expulsion of Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, the president’s son and head of security, as well as Colonel Ammar Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, head of the national security agency and Colonel Yehya Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, chief of staff of the central security agency.

The newspaper said that the US vision also includes Saleh and dissident general Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar leaving the country after Saleh’s resignation.

Yemen's opposition rejected the proposition last Monday due to it’s apparent offer of impunity from prosecution.

Gulf Arab foreign ministers that met in Riyadh late on Sunday called for a meeting in Saudi Arabia of all the parties involved in the Yemeni conflict, but set no date.

"Who would be a fool to offer guarantees to a regime that kills peaceful protesters? Our principal demand is that Saleh leaves first," opposition spokesman Mohammed Al-Sabry said.

Diplomatic sources say Saleh has dragged his heels for weeks over US attempts to get him to agree to step down and end protests crippling the country since early February, manoeuvring to win guarantees that he and his sons not face prosecution.

With more than 100 protesters killed in clashes with security forces, activists have said they want to see legal action against Saleh and his sons, who occupy key security and political posts.

Tens of thousands filled the streets of Sanaa, Taiz, Hudaida, Ibb and the southeastern province of Hadramaut on Monday to protest against the Gulf plan, witnesses said.

General Ali Mohsen, a kinsman of Saleh whose units are protecting demonstrators in Sanaa, said on Monday he welcomed the details of the GCC plan announced in Riyadh.

"He hopes all parties will accept this initiative and not miss this opportunity," a statement from General Mohsen's office said.

Shortly after the opposition rejected the Gulf initiative, Saleh's office issued a statement saying he accepted it.

"The presidency welcomes the efforts of our brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council to solve the current crisis in Yemen," the statement said from his office said.

"He [Saleh] has no reservations about transferring power peacefully within the framework of the constitution," it added, in language Saleh has used before to argue he should oversee a transition involving new elections.

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