Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • Second black box found at Air Algérie crash site in Mali

    Read more

  • Limited 12-hour humanitarian truce takes effect in Gaza

    Read more

  • US evacuates embassy in Libya amid militia clashes

    Read more

  • Kerry in Paris for new round of Gaza ceasefire talks

    Read more

  • French PM calls for calm ahead of banned Gaza protest

    Read more

  • Nibali rides serenely toward a place in Tour history

    Read more

  • Video: 'Lack of security' at MH17 crash site, FRANCE 24 reports

    Read more

  • In pictures: Devastation, debris at Air Algérie crash site

    Read more

  • Washington Post reporter and his wife arrested in Iran

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Fans electrify the mood as Tour de France crosses the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

Middle east

Opposition remains defiant as Saleh agrees to step down

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2011-04-11

Yemeni opposition on Monday rejected a deal proposed by neighbouring Gulf states to see President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down after 32 years in power, while a government official urged all factions to seize the "opportunity".

REUTERS - Yemen's opposition rejected on Monday a Gulf Arab initiative for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, because it appears to offer him immunity from prosecution, while Saleh himself welcomed the plan.

Gulf Arab foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh late on Sunday said publicly for the first time that the framework of their mediation effort involved Saleh standing down, though it did not say when that would occur.
 
The ministers called for a meeting of parties to the Yemeni conflict in Saudi Arabia 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, referring to assurances that Saleh and his sons would not face the fate of rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.
 
Tens of thousands filled the streets of Sanaa, Taiz, Hudaida, Ibb and the southeastern province of Hadramaut on Monday to protest against the GCC plan, witnesses said.
 
Diplomatic sources say Saleh has dragged his heels for weeks over U.S. 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 do not face prosecution.
 
With more than 100 protesters killed as security forces try to break up demonstrations with tear gas and live fire, activists have said they want to see legal action against Saleh and his sons, who occupy key security and political posts.
 
Power transfer
 
General Ali Mohsen, a kinsman of Saleh whose units are protecting protesters 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 his 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.
 
Long regarded by the West as a vital ally against al Qaeda militants, Saleh has warned of civil war and the break-up of Yemen if he is forced to leave power before organising parliamentary and presidential polls over the next year.
 
He had sought Saudi mediation for some weeks, but Gulf diplomatic sources said Riyadh was prompted in the end by concern over the deteriorating security in its southern neighbour after Saleh failed to act on the backroom deal struck with U.S. officials on a quick exit.
 
Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, is the key financier of the Yemeni government as well as many Yemeni tribes on its border.
 
Countries of the region became convinced that Saleh, a shrewd political operator in power since 1978, is an obstacle to stability in a country that overlooks a shipping lane where over 3 million barrels of oil pass daily.
 
Gulf Arabs say Saleh should go
 
The GCC statement on Sunday talked of "the formation of a national unity government under the leadership of the opposition which has the right to form committees ... to draw up a constitution and hold elections".
 
It said Saleh should hand his authorities over to his vice president and that all parties should "stop all forms of revenge .. and (legal) pursuance, through guarantees offered" -- wording that appeared to offer Saleh assurances of no prosecution for him or his family once he leaves office.
 
Saleh's deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has said he is not interested, which could open the way to the perennial survivor nominating an interim successor of his own choice.
Even before the protests, Saleh was struggling to quell a separatist rebellion in the south and a Shi'ite Muslim insurgency in the north -- violence that has given the Arabian Peninsula branch of al Qaeda more room to operate.
 
In continued unrest, two soldiers and a militant were killed in a clash between militants and the army in Lowdar in the restive Abyan province of south Yemen, which is seen as a hotbed of al Qaeda activity.

 

Date created : 2011-04-11

  • YEMEN

    Gulf states urge Saleh to step down amid spiralling violence

    Read more

  • YEMEN

    Yemen’s Saleh rejects Gulf states’ exit plan as ‘belligerent intervention’

    Read more

  • YEMEN

    Gulf states seek deal for Yemen's Saleh to cede power

    Read more

COMMENT(S)