Saturday, May 7, 2011

Yemeni protesters call on Gulf to withdraw power transition deal

Sana'a, May 7, 2011 - Protesters in Yemen, who are demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, called Saturday on the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to withdraw a power transition plan aimed at ending the unrest in the country.

In a statement, the organizing committee for Yemeni Youth Popular Uprising said the 'does not respond to the ultimate goals of protesters to topple president Saleh immediately and send him on trial.'

Protesters also called on the international community, especially the United States and the European Union, to refrain from intervening against the will of the people and their right to determine their future.

'If our demands are not met, we will expand protests outside protests camps to compel the regime to stand aside as the last phase of our peaceful uprising,' said Tawakul Karaman, a member of the committee.

Earlier this week, Saleh backtracked on statements indicating he had accepted the Gulf proposal to step down and transfer his powers to his vice president in a government of national unity.

The GCC says it will continue to work on getting both the opposition and Saleh to sign the deal as a solution to preserve stability and security in Yemen.

'We will not change our stance regarding the initiative and will wait for the Gulf mediators either to press the president to sign it or withdraw it,' Mohammed Qahtan, a spokesman for the opposition coalition Joint Meetings Parties JMP told the German Press Agency dpa.

Tens of thousands of people have been staging demonstrations across Yemen, calling on Saleh to leave power.

Protesters have repeatedly said they disapprove of the deal, which guarantees Saleh immunity from legal prosecution. They say they will not stop demonstrating until Saleh is also tried over the deaths of more than 100 protesters.

Under the proposed deal, the president would also retain the right to remain as head of the ruling party.

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