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Yemeni vice president holds initial power-transfer negotiation with opposition

(Xinhua)

15:12, September 29, 2011

SANAA, Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi announced Wednesday an initial negotiation with the opposition to implement a Gulf-brokered initiative, the state-run Saba news agency reported.

The announcement was made during a meeting in the capital between Hadi and ambassadors of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, the European Union and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to Yemen.

"I meet you today to inaugurate a process that would lead the ruling party and the opposition to reach a consensus on a mechanism leading to the signing of the GCC initiative," Hadi told the foreign ambassadors.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Sep. 12 authorized his deputy, Hadi, to sign the GCC initiative for power transfer after holding dialogue with the opposition.

The embattled president, who confronted eight-month-long protest demanding an end to his 33-year-long rule, returned to Yemen on Friday after spending more than three months in Saudi Arabia for recovering from injuries he sustained in an attack on his Sanaa palace on June 3.

Saleh's return sparked week-long deadly clashes between forces loyal to him and defected army in Sanaa and the southern restive province of Taiz, which left more than 100 people killed and more than 1,000 others wounded.

"For ensuring the achievement of such promising step, all parties should commit to the terms of the GCC initiative and begin to withdraw armed forces and tribal militants from cities, including Sanaa," Saba quoted Hadi as saying without providing further details.

In response, the opposition spokesman Mohamed Qahtan told Xinhua on Wednesday that "the matter is now up to Saleh's ruling party and the leaders of the opposition coalition expect the solution is near."

The GCC deal, which was initiated in April and was signed by the opposition in May, stipulated Saleh to step down in 30 days and hand over power to his deputy, who will then form an opposition-led national government and arrange presidential elections in 60 days.

Saleh has backed out of signing the deal three times in the last minute.

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