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[P]GCC Deal Reaches Dead End in Yemen

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TEHRAN, May 19 (ICANA) – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has once again failed to sign a power transition deal designed to end the country's months-long crisis, opposition says.
Thursday, May 19, 2011 10:42:58 PM
[P]GCC Deal Reaches Dead End in Yemen

Opposition spokesman Mohammed al-Sabri said on Wednesday that Abdul-Latif al-Zayyani, the Secretary General of the six-nation [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), which had brokered the deal, "flew out of Yemen and would not come back'' because of Saleh's refusal to sign the deal.

Yemen' ruling General People's Congress party has also confirmed al-Zayyani's departure, saying Saleh would not resign "as long as the security situation remains unstable."

Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, has repeatedly said that he will stay in power until end of his term despite massive anti-government protests across Yemen. His current term of office ends in 2013.

It is the second time in nearly a month that Saleh backs out of signing a deal for transition of power at the last minute.

The Yemeni president and the opposition were expected to sign the deal today. Officials from both sides had announced that they have agreed to sign the deal after a number of modifications were made in the original version.

Last month, the signing was thwarted after the isolated Yemeni president refused to sign in his capacity as president, insisting on endorsing the agreement only as the leader of the ruling GPC, a move opposed by the opposition.

The exit plan proposes the formation of a national unity government, Saleh transferring power to his vice president and submitting his resignation to parliament within 30 days in return for immunity from prosecution.

According to local reports, at least 300 protesters have been killed and many others injured during clashes with riot police and armed forces loyal to the embattled Yemeni president since anti-Saleh demonstrations began in late January.

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