Thursday, April 14, 2011

Yemeni opposition accepts GCC transfer-power initiative: spokesman

SANAA, April 14 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's opposition announced on Thursday that they officially accepted the initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), about transferring power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to his deputy.

"There was just only one initiative proposed by the countries of GCC on April 3, which we all in the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) accepted and we will go to Riyadh to hold talks regarding this initiative," the JMP's spokesman Mohamed Qahtan told Xinhua.

On Monday, Qahtan told Xinhua that the opposition initially rejected the GCC's final statement on April 10 as "it did not specify when Saleh should leave office and whether his sons and relatives will keep their military and security positions or not."

Qahtan explained that "we have met with the ambassadors of the GCC in Sanaa and then we made sure of everything regarding the final statement of the GCC, including the guarantee of Saleh's step down in detail," he said, confirming that there was no refusal now.

"We know that the protesters have objection to the plan as they want to prosecute President Saleh for the previous clashes that left dozens killed or injured, we in the JMP can guarantee that after Saleh steps aside, we will convince the protesters to accept the new situation and to show mercy on Saleh for the sake of a new Yemen," Qahtan added.

Qahtan neither revealed the exact date specified by GCC for Saleh to leave power nor when they will meet in Riyadh.

The six-nation GCC on April 10 called for President Saleh to transfer power to his deputy and enable the opposition JMP to lead a transitional national unity government in their final statement.

The final statement, which was issued in Riyadh following a meeting of the GCC foreign ministers and Yemen, said after the opposition JMP forms the transitional government, it will be authorized to write a new constitution and prepare for holding elections.

The opposition's confirmation of accepting the GCC plan came as anti-government protests continued on Thursday to rock streets of major cities in rallies demanding an end to the 33-year rule of Saleh, vowing to stage escalating demonstration on Friday.

On Wednesday, defected Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the half brother of President Saleh and commander of the Northwest Military Area, announced that he accepted the GCC initiative.

The leading opposition figure Hamid al-Ahmar also declared on Wednesday that he accepted the GCC initiative.

Yemen has been witnessing daily anti-government protests across major provinces since mid-February, which resulted in a political crisis that undermined security and stability situations in the country.

The president on March 28 said that he has lost control over five provinces, which were seized either by tribesmen or by al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) after the government pulled the police out from some towns of major provinces under the pretext of avoiding friction with protesters.

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