Friday, April 15, 2011

Yemen forms team for GCC talks

April 14, 2011

SANAA, Yemen, April 14 (UPI) -- Yemen appointed a delegation to head to Saudi Arabia next week to discuss a political solution to the country's crisis, a source told Saba Thursday.

Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has faced pressure for most of the year to step down. Violence related to the social upheaval has claimed as many as 100 lives.

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council offered a plan for the gradual departure of the president, though his opponents said it was tantamount to giving Saleh immunity.

The government appointed a delegation to head to Riyadh next week to discuss the GCC initiative, a source told the official Saba news agency. Few other details about the delegation were revealed, however.

Among other points, the GCC called for a smooth transfer of power from the president to the vice president. A national unity government would be formed under the plan that includes members of the opposition who would join political and military officials in drawing up a new constitution and holding new elections.

The GCC plan didn't specify a deadline, though Saleh's term expires in 2013.

Fighting in Yemen claimed at least five lives during skirmishes between national security forces and a breakaway general loyal to the opposition.

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