September 5, 2011 (AFP)
SANAA — Yemen's ruling party is to meet to discuss a UN-proposed roadmap for embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh to hand over power to his deputy, a party official said on Monday.
"The general committee of the General People's Congress will meet within the next few days to discuss the roadmap," in line with a call from Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, the official told AFP, requesting anonymity.
The UN roadmap was drawn up in two weeks of talks in July held by UN envoy Jamal Benomar in Yemen with the opposition and leading figures of the GPC, according to opposition sources and a Western diplomat.
They said the plan has four points, including a handover of power by Saleh to his deputy, Hadi, followed immediately by talks on a transitional period ranging from three to six months.
The interim period would see the formation of a reconciliation government, the restructuring of military bodies, and preparations for and setting a date for a new presidential election.
The roadmap is similar to a Gulf-brokered mediation plan which Saleh has refused to sign for several months.
But whereas the Gulf plan stipulates a one-month interim period ending with Saleh's resignation, the UN roadmap provides for an extended period of up to six months.
Unlike the roadmap, the Gulf plan does not call for a restructuring of military institutions, the most powerful of which are controlled by Saleh's family members.
A Western diplomat told AFP the roadmap has the endorsement of all the international parties concerned.
Saleh remains in Riyadh, recovering from bomb blast wounds after his Sanaa compound was hit on June 3. He has vowed to return to Yemen soon, defying months of deadly protests demanding his ouster after 32 years in office.
The British envoy to Sanaa on Monday urged all parties to take part in negotiations based on the GCC plan and the UN-proposed roadmap.
"The priority now should be for all sides to be more active in negotiating a political settlement based on the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) initiative and the roadmap for implementation of political transition developed by UN envoy Jamal Benomar," ambassador Jonathan Wilks said on the embassy's website.
"What Yemen needs urgently is a peaceful political settlement to the crisis. Violence is not a solution to any of Yemen's problems," he said, as tension escalated with troops and gunmen loyal to Saleh deployed in the capital.