SANAA: Hopes rose high Wednesday about the Yemeni sides finally signing a GCC-brokered power transition deal, but by the evening they were dashed and GCC Secretary-General Abdul Latif Al-Zayani left for Riyadh.
Ahmed Al-Sufi, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s press adviser, said earlier that the mediators had made a breakthrough in the talks when the opposition agreed to remove its supporters from camping sites after Saleh agreed to sign the deal in his capacity as both the head of state and the ruling party. It was not clear what was holding up the signing of the accord. Yahya Abu Asbaa, a leading opposition figure, told Al Arabyia channel that Saleh’s insistence that Yasin Saeed Noman sign the deal for the opposition instead of Mohammed Basindowa, the opposition choice, was the reason behind the delay.
Abu Asbaa said the agreed deal — in its third draft — entails Saleh’s resignation within a month. The opposition, however, made it clear to the mediators that it does not hold sway over the protesters. Under the deal, Saleh would resign and hand power to his vice president within 30 days of signing. The deal would offer Saleh and his inner circle immunity from prosecution. Despite news of an imminent agreement, protests continued throughout Yemen Wednesday decrying the deal and calling for the immediate departure of Saleh’s regime. Thousands of anti-government protesters took part in massive rallies in Taiz, Ibb, Hodiada, Shabwa and other cities.
The leaders of the youth-led protests rejected outright the GCC proposal, vowing to maintain their hard-line stance until Saleh resigns and is brought to justice. Bushar Al-Mugtri, an activist and protest leader in Taiz, told Arab News by telephone that their stance on the deal is clear and unchanged since its details were announced. “We consider the deal an attempt to contain the revolution. Even if Saleh signs the deal today, he would backtrack the following day. The deal gives Saleh a green light to kill the protesters since he knows that he would eventually be pardoned for his crimes. The deal that grants the regime immunity is a treason to the blood of the martyrs,” Al-Mugtri said and criticized the opposition for agreeing to sign the deal.
“We are extremely disappointed with the changing stance of the Joint Meeting parties. It disregards the people’s demand for prosecuting the regime for its crimes,” he added. – arabnews