Friday, April 29, 2011

Yemen's Saleh threatens to quit transition deal


SANAA, Apr 29, 2011 — Embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh has accused Qatar of a "conspiracy" and threatened to pull out of a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) transition deal to end the violence in Yemen.

"Contacts are under way for the signing of the agreement on Monday in Riyadh, but we have reservations about some mediators involved in a conspiracy," Saleh said in an interview with the Russia Today television channel.

He singled out Qatar among the six-nation GCC and accused it of causing unrest in Yemen where more than 145 people have been killed in the past three months as protesters demanding the immediate ouster of Saleh.

"The state of Qatar is funding chaos in Yemen and in Egypt and Syria and throughout the Arab world, " he charged.

"We reserve the right not to sign if the representatives of Qatar are present" at the ceremony, Saleh warned.

The foreign ministers of the GCC -- Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- are to meet in Riyadh on Sunday to finalise the Yemen transition deal before presenting it to the parties for ratification.

The plan proposes the formation in Sanaa of a government of national unity, Saleh transferring power to his vice president and an end to the deadly protests rocking the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation since late January.

The president would submit his resignation to parliament within 30 days, to be followed two months later by a presidential election.

However, a defiant Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, has publicly insisted on sticking to the constitution in any transfer of power, even though his ruling General People's Congress party has said it accepts the GCC plan.

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