Sunday, May 22, 2011

US urges Yemeni ruler to cede power

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh

Source: Press TV

The United States has called on Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh to cede power under a proposal from the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC).

"President Saleh needs to follow through on his commitment to transfer power," AFP quoted US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as saying in a statement on Saturday.

Clinton urged the Yemeni regime, one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East, to "address the legitimate will of the people."

"The United States will continue to support the Yemeni people as you work toward a unified, stable, democratic, and prosperous Yemen. We continue to call for a peaceful transition of power so that the citizens of Yemen may one day realize your aspirations."

The statement came after Yemen's opposition said it had signed an accord on the transfer of power which is expected to be signed by Saleh on Sunday.

Under the deal mediated by the (P)GCC, Saleh would hand power over to the Yemeni vice president within 30 days after the signing of the agreement in exchange for immunity from prosecution by parliament.

A national unity government led by a prime minister from the opposition would then be formed, and a presidential election would be held 60 days after Saleh's departure.

A commission, made up of members of the current government and the opposition and representatives of the US, the EU, and the UN, would also be established to "supervise the implementation of the agreement over 30 days."

Saleh earlier attacked the accord as a "coup operation" that would favor al-Qaeda and worsen the situation in Yemen, but said he unwillingly accepted it for the sake of the nation and to stop bloodshed.

Yemen has been the scene of violent crackdown on anti-government protesters who have been demanding Saleh's ouster as widespread corruption and poverty continues to plague the Arab nation.

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