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Yemeni president demands international guarantees for power- transfer deal

(Xinhua)

08:32, October 20, 2011

SANAA, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Wednesday he was ready to sign a power-transfer deal if the opposition provides guarantees from the United States, Europe and Gulf countries for implementing the proposal.

"After my return from Saudi Arabia, where I spent 112 days for treating injuries I sustained from the June 3 attack, they ( opposition) demand that I sign the Gulf (power-transfer) initiative. Fine, we are ready to sign the deal, either me or my deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi," Saleh said in a speech before a meeting of his party leaders in Sanaa, aired by the state television.

"I'm ready to sign the initiative, but I ask the opposition to firstly provide international guarantees to implement the initiative in full. First, we want Gulf guarantees; second, European guarantees; and third, U.S. guarantees," he said.

"The opposition (parties), however, demand only my signature and say they would discuss the details of implementing the initiative afterwards," he added.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative, which was initiated in April and signed by the opposition in May, stipulates Saleh 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.

In his speech, Saleh welcomed the discussions of the Yemeni political crisis by the United Nations Security Council, saying " any UN resolution on Yemen will be welcomed."

The president, who confronted nine-month-long protest calling for an end to his 33-year rule, repeated his welcome for the youth protests, but said their "revolution has been hijacked by defected army general (Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar), dissident armed tribesmen (of opposition tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar) and leaders of the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP).

"They are not just calling for one man to leave the power, they are asking me to leave the country while this is my homeland ... they are also asking 4 million my supporters who vote for me in the 2006 presidential elections to leave, too," Saleh added in his speech, referring to his rivals.

After Saleh finished his address, his deputy Hadi delivered a speech charging the JMP of refusing to sit around the table of peaceful dialogue to agree on a mechanism to implement the GCC initiative.

Meanwhile, the ruling party's leaders issued a brief statement on their website, expressing support to the GCC initiative and calling for President Saleh to "unilaterally form a new government in case the opposition continues to reject peace compromise."


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