Yemen opposition blames Saleh for Gulf plan failure

Saleh, in power since 1978, "has refused the peaceful choice and is ready to do everything to remain in power.

Last Updated: May 19, 2011, 23:02 PM IST

Sanaa: Yemen`s opposition blamed
President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday for the failure of a Gulf
plan aimed at ending a bloody political dispute, saying he
would do "everything" to remain in power.

Saleh "foiled the initiative by refusing to sign it"
on Wednesday, the head of the opposition Common Forum, Yassin
Saeed Noman, said.

The secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council
(GCC), Abdullatif al-Zayani, flew out of Sanaa yesterday after
sources close to the negotiations between the regime and
opposition said the two sides again failed to ink the power
transfer accord.

Saleh, in power since 1978, "has refused the peaceful
choice and is ready to do everything to remain in power," said
Noman.

"With this, the regime will have to face the people
who will continue with their peaceful revolt and will continue
to escalate, even if the regime uses violence against them,"
he said.

Conditions Saleh has set that he says will enable him
to sign in his capacity as president, cannot be met, said
another member of the Common Forum who requested anonymity.

According to the Gulf-brokered proposal, Saleh would
quit office within 30 days, in return for immunity from
prosecution, before a government of national unity is formed
and elections for a new president held after two months.

A GCC official said today that the bloc`s foreign
ministers will hold new talks on Yemen soon.

"In the coming days, there will be a meeting in
Riyadh" of GCC foreign ministers to discuss Yemen, said the
official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The exact date of the meeting and whether or not any
Yemeni parties will participate has not been finally decided,
the official said.

Washington had issued a fresh plea on Wednesday for
the deal to be inked.

US President Barack Obama`s aide John Brennan called
Saleh to urge him to sign and implement the agreement "so that
Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political
transition," a White House statement said.

PTI