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Yemeni opposition rejects Gulf initiative to transfer power

Posted by on April 12, 2011 0 Comment

Yemen’s opposition rejected on Monday a Gulf Arab initiative for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, because it appears to offer him immunity from prosecution, while Saleh himself welcomed the plan.

Gulf Arab foreign ministers meeting in Riyadh late on Sunday said publicly for the first time that the framework of their mediation effort involved Saleh standing down, though it did not say when that would occur.

The ministers called for a meeting of parties to the Yemeni conflict in Saudi Arabia but set no date.

“Who would be a fool to offer guarantees to a regime that kills peaceful protesters? Our principal demand is that Saleh leaves first,” opposition spokesman Mohammed al-Sabry said, referring to assurances that Saleh and his sons would not face the fate of rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.

Tens of thousands filled the streets of Sanaa, Taiz, Hudaida, Ibb and the southeastern province of Hadramaut on Monday to protest against the plan, witnesses said.

Diplomatic sources say Saleh has dragged his heels for weeks over U.S. attempts to get him to agree to step down and end protests crippling the country since early February, manoeuvring to win guarantees that he and his sons do not face prosecution.

With more than 100 protesters killed as security forces try to break up demonstrations with tear gas and live fire, activists have said they want to see legal action against Saleh and his sons, who occupy key security and political posts. Agencies

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