Yemen deal is off after President Saleh refuses to sign

Reuters/Ammar Awad

Yemen's opposition said it will not go to the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh on Sunday to finalise a Gulf-brokered deal aimed at ending three months of deadly protests after embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to sign. 


Delegations from Yemen's ruling party and the Common Forum opposition coalition had been expected to join Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC, foreign ministers to sign the deal stipulating Saleh's departure.

The GCC deal puts forward the formation of a government of national unity, the transfer of power from Saleh to his vice president and an end to the deadly protests that have rocked the impoverished country since late January. Under the accord, Saleh would submit his resignation to parliament on the 30th day after the deal. One day after parliament would pass a law guaranteeing immunity from prosecution to Saleh and his aides.

A presidential election should follow after 60 days. But a defiant Saleh has publicly insisted on sticking to the constitution in any transfer of power, even though his ruling People's Congress Party has said it accepts the GCC plan.

Meanwhile, two military personnel and four civilians have been killed and at least another 23 wounded in South Yemen during a shutdown called by anti-government protesters.

Local officials say protesters opened fire on troops as they tried to dismantle roadblocks set up near the Al-Mansura neighbourhood in Aden to demonstrate against the regime of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

In addition to anti-regime protests, Yemen's president has also been battling a secessionist movement in the south, a Shia rebellion in the north, and an alleged Al-Qaeda unit.


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