Yemen's Saleh to sign exit plan Wednesday: UN envoy

AFP , Wednesday 23 Nov 2011

UN mediator in Yemen says that President Ali Abudllah Saleh will sign in few hours the GCC deal to give up the power in Saudi Arabia

Yemen's veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh is to sign in Riyadh on Wednesday a Gulf plan under which he will finally cede power, the UN envoy to the restive country said.

"The signing ceremony will take place today in Riyadh," Jamal Benomar told AFP by telephone, confirming that the plan, signed by the opposition in April, will now be inked by the veteran leader himself after months of stalling.

Both parties will also sign a UN-crafted roadmap which sets a mechanism for implementing the Gulf plan, under which Saleh will hand power to his deputy in return for immunity from prosecution.

According to the agreement, Saleh will on signing immediately hand "all necessary constitutional powers to his deputy Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi," a diplomatic source said.

Yemeni television said Saleh was already in Riyadh for the signing ceremony.

His trip to the Saudi capital "comes in response to an invitation by the Saudi leadership to attend the signing of the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism ... to take the country out of its crisis," it said.

Saleh has repeatedly refused to sign the initiative, triggering months of political deadlock that has left the government in a state of chaos and the economy in shambles.

The political crisis has also exacerbated tensions on the street where tens of thousands of anti-regime protesters have faced a brutal 10-month government crackdown that has left hundreds dead and thousands wounded.

The plan submitted by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council will effectively bring an end to Saleh's 33-year rule.

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