U.S. urges Yemeni president to transfer power

15:04, May 23, 2011      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday urged Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to "peacefully and orderly" transfer power, saying "the time for action is now."

Clinton said the U.S. is "deeply disappointed" by Saleh's continued refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered deal. "He is turning his back on his commitments and disregarding the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people," the top U.S. envoy said in a statement.

She noted that the concerted efforts of the international community, led by the GCC, have been tireless and all sides have agreed -- on multiple occasions -- to sign the GCC initiative.

Saleh, who has been facing growing calls for his resignation in anti-government protests since mid-February, refused to sign the GCC-brokered deal after the opposition, which unilaterally signed the document on Saturday evening, refused to go to the presidential palace to sign it together with him.

Saleh has thwarted the U.S.-backed deal three times since April.

If Saleh signs the deal, he should leave office within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution according to the terms of the deal, which also authorizes the opposition to form a new government within seven days and prepare for presidential and parliamentary elections in 60 days.

Saleh was a U.S. ally in the fight against the Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which has tried to plot attacks on U.S. soil. But the U.S. is concerned that the terror group may take advantage of the ongoing political standoff and ensuing violence in Yemen.

Source: Xinhua
 
 
     
 
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