Yemeni president's delegation hands fresh power transfer initiative to Gulf meeting

11:50, April 20, 2011      

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The delegation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed on Tuesday a fresh initiative for power transfer to the meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers in Abu Dhabi, a Yemeni government official told Xinhua.

The official, who requested not to be named, said the initiative represented Saleh's view to step down and transfer power peacefully. The initiative proposed a timetable for transferring power, to get in return a strong immunity for Saleh and his family members from prosecution after his abdication.

"If the GCC-mediated proposal failed to establish a contact between Saleh's ruling party and the opposition, Yemen then would slide into civil war, which would negatively affect the neighboring GCC countries," the government official said.

The opposition's spokesman Mohamed Qahtan told Xinhua the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) is sticking to the GCC plan on April 3.

There was no immediate word of any conciliation agreement reached in Abu Dhabi meeting, which was chaired by Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al- Nahayan.

In their latest meeting on April 10, the GCC foreign ministers floated a proposal calling for Saleh to transfer power to his vice president and form a unity government headed by the opposition.

Meanwhile, Saleh ordered an investigation into Tuesday's clashes that left three anti-government protesters killed and another hundreds injured in provinces of Sanaa and Taiz, state Saba news agency reported.

Youth-led protesters demanding an immediate end to the 33-year rule of Saleh escalated their marches across major provinces on Tuesday to "send a clear message to both meetings on Yemeni political crisis, the meetings of the UN Security Council and of the Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers," protest organizers said.

Saleh, who is facing months of street protesters across the country, has already admitted losing control of several provinces and warned of civil war and national split if he is forced to step aside.

More than 100 demonstrators have been killed in clashes with security forces since late January. There are also fears that the violence could escalate as the majority of the country's 23 million people own guns.

Source: Xinhua
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