Wednesday, July 27, 2011

London asks Yemen's Saleh to step down

LONDON, July 27 (UPI) -- It's a critical time for Yemen, the British foreign secretary said Wednesday, and London supports a GCC deal calling for the country's president to step down.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains hospitalized in Saudi Arabia nearly two months after an attack on his presidential compound in Sanaa. Clinging to power for much of the year, Saleh has refused to sign a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council that calls for his resignation in exchange for immunity.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said following meetings with Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi in London that the GCC measure was the best option for a political settlement in the country.

It is vital that the process of transition starts as soon as possible and I urge President Saleh to agree this now without further delay to allow the handover of authority to begin," Hague said in a statement.

Hague said his government was concerned the political vacuum in Yemen could bring al-Qaida and other security concerns to the forefront.

"The continuation of the current deadlock is affecting the lives and potential livelihoods of all Yemenis," he said. "This is not a sustainable situation and early progress is essential."

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