Thursday, July 21, 2011

U.S. washes hands of Yemen's Saleh

WASHINGTON, July 21 (UPI) -- The only thing standing in the way of a peaceful political transition in Yemen is the country's president, an official at the U.S. State Department testified.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has clung to power despite mounting calls for his resignation. The Gulf Cooperation Council offered a proposal for his resignation in exchange for immunity, though he's refused to sign the deal.

Janet Sanderson, deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, testified before lawmakers in Washington that the GCC initiative was the best option for peaceful transition in Yemen.

"The GCC initiative (was) signed by both the ruling General People's Congress Party and the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties," she said. "Only President Saleh is blocking the agreement moving forward and we continue to call on him to sign the initiative."

Saleh is recovering in Saudi Arabia from wounds suffered during a June 3 attack on his presidential compound.

Sanderson said U.S. policy in Yemen was centered on a stable and effectively governed Yemen.

"We will be able to more effectively engage in Yemen once the Yemeni government initiates the political transition and identifies its way forward," she said.

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