Monday, 16 May 2011

GCC chief still unable to convince Yemen conflicting parties to sign power-transfer deal

Source: Xinhua, 17/05/2011

SANAA-Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh met on Monday with visiting Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Secretary-General Abdullatif al-Zayani in Sanaa to discuss the ongoing GCC-mediated initiative to settle power-transition standoff, an official at Saleh's office told Xinhua.

Al-Zayani briefed Saleh with the results of his negotiations with the leaders of Yemeni the ruling party and opposition coalition over the past two days, the official said on condition of anonymity.

The official said that al-Zayani, who arrived in Sanaa late Saturday, added in the GCC deal a new item that President Saleh should at first sign the deal as the chairman of the ruling party and then sign it as the president.

"The opposition leaders refused such term and insisted that Saleh should sign the deal as the president only, because the crisis is with Saleh rather than with his ruling party," the official cited al-Zayani as saying.

The Yemeni official explained that the opposition seeks to dissolve the ruling party after Saleh's resignation.

Opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan could not be immediately reached, while an opposition official refused to comment on the remarks of the presidential official, but said the opposition totally refused the new term of the deal.

"What kind of achievement are we going to make if the ruling party remains our partner in the future?" the opposition leader said. "Saleh should sign the deal in his capacity as president, otherwise we will not approve such deal," he added.

However, Saleh's ruling party still sticks to the power despite the continuing three-month street protests demanding immediate end of Saleh's 33-year rule.

According to the opposition leader, the GCC chief al-Zayani told the leaders of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) on Sunday that the ruling party wanted Saleh's resignation contingent on an instant ending to the street protests and a clear timetable of settling the years-long Shiite rebellion in the north and separatist movement in the south.

"The JMP also responded with clear rejection to what the ruling party conveyed through al-Zayani on Sunday," the opposition leader added.

No indicators of possible compromise could be reached to end the deadlock as mass protests and civil disobedience, which have rattled Yemen since mid February demanding Saleh to relinquish power, reportedly continued on Monday in most cities of major Yemeni provinces

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