Yemen President Refuses to Sign Deal to Transfer Power

The deal to end the three months of anti-government protests in Yemen appears to be on the brink of falling apart. President Ali Abdullah Saleh has refused to sign the proposed deal, which was put together by the Saudi-led Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC). Under its terms, Saleh would appoint a prime minister from the opposition to head a transitional government, which would hold a presidential election after 60 days. Under the pact, Saleh, his family and aides would also be immune from prosecution.

According to the Guardian, mediators from the GCC had told Yemen’s opposition — which agreed to the terms of the pact last week — that Saleh would sign the deal, but in the capacity of the leader of his party and not as president. The GCC secretary-general had gone to Sanaa for the signing, but left Yemen without getting Saleh’s signature. A formal signing ceremony was to take place in the Saudi Arabia capital of Riyadh today and has now been postponed.

Opposition forces are reported to be “furious” about Saleh’s last-minute stepping out of the deal and are talking about calling on the international community to intervene. The New York Times reports that the opposition fears that Saleh is “leaving himself room to stay in power:”

“We are studying the options of escalations and waiting for a US-European stance on Saleh’s refusal to sign,” a senior opposition leader told Reuters.

Saleh’s turnaround about the pact means that turmoil will continue in Yemen:

Yemen’s opposition said it still hoped Gulf states would extract Saleh’s signature through negotiation, since both Saleh and the opposition, which includes Islamists and leftists, had agreed the deal in principle…

The US and neighbouring Saudi Arabia want the Yemen standoff resolved to avert chaos that could make a Yemeni wing of al-Qaida a greater threat to the region.

Protesters say they will stay on the streets until Saleh leaves. They also called for him to be put on trial for corruption and the deaths of an estimated 144 protesters.

Tens of thousands of protesters marched today throughout Yemen, including in the cities of Aden and Taiz in the south and demanded that Saleh step down.

Yemen is among the poorest of Arab states. During the uprising, the prices of food and of fuel have shot up astronomically. According to the World Food Programme, a third of Yemen’s population — more than 7 million people — have found it a struggle to find enough to eat every day.

With Saleh’s refusal to sign the GCC’s deal, it seems that the struggles for Yemen’s people will only continue.

 

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Yemen Agrees to Peaceful Transition Plan As Its People Struggle to Find Food


Map of Yemen by Master of Puppets at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

11 comments

Louise D.
Louise D8 years ago

Isn't there a time when dictators should realise that it's time to go or does it just dawn on them when they are hanging upside down from a lamppost.

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Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan8 years ago

He has to realise that he doesn't have a choice, he must sign.

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Rodney Paige
Rodney P8 years ago

my prayers are with the people of Yemen.

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Shell S.
Past Member 8 years ago

Sending postive thoughts...sending positive thoughts.

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Penny C.
penny C8 years ago

Another dictator being radical.

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Ahlam Zaid
Ahlam Zaid8 years ago

May Allah protect my adorable country Yemen and people of Yemen Ameeeeeeeen ya rab

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Bernadette P.
berny p8 years ago

Why are we surprised...When are we going to learn that dictators will do what they want when they want!!!!

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Ralph F.
Ralph F8 years ago

Thanks for the article. Mr. Saleh must be living in a parallel reality.

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