GCC plans more talks on Yemen

“The GCC foreign ministers discussed all aspects of the deal and ways to ensure political transition in that fragile nation,” said a statement released by the GCC General Secretariat here following a GCC ministerial meeting on Sunday.
Sultan Al-Barakani, assistant secretary-general to Yemen’s ruling General People Congress (GPC) party said Sunday the president was still committed to the GCC deal, suggesting that Sanaa would be a better venue for the signing ceremony.
A high-profile signing ceremony for the GCC initiative, which was to take place on Sunday in the Saudi capital, was postponed indefinitely after the Yemeni president refused to travel to Riyadh. Yemeni opposition leaders also canceled their trips.
The day was marked by hectic political consultations among Gulf leaders. Saleh made a phone call on Sunday to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to discuss efforts to address the impasse, the Saudi Press Agency said. In his talks with the king, the Yemeni president reportedly said he still welcomed the GCC-brokered initiative. Saleh also spoke on Sunday with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah.
The deal calls for Saleh to step down within 30 days and for the ruling party and the opposition to come together in a national unity government. In exchange, Saleh would get immunity from prosecution.
Al-Barakani said the GGC ministers would determine the implementation mechanism of the deal. He also said Al-Zayani had approved the idea of changing the location of the signing ceremony to Sanaa.
The GCC ministerial council meeting here Sunday was chaired by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah, whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the GCC.
On Sunday, thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators poured into the streets of the southern Yemeni city of Taiz to decry military onslaught on the protesters in Aden on Saturday. The protesters reiterated their demand for the unconditioned resignation of Saleh and his regime, calling upon the GCC leaders to stop any mediation that would give Saleh and his inner circle immunity from prosecution. They also called on their Gulf neighbors to throw their lot with the Yemeni people and not with “a regime that rejected their deal.”
Al-Qaeda militants, meanwhile, intensified their attack on the security personnel in Abyan, exploiting the nationwide unrest. In the third deadly attack in less than a week, three Yemeni soldiers were shot dead and four injured Sunday in the restive province, the website of the Ministry of Defense reported. The hit-and run attackers bombarded the security guards of the government complex in Zinjibar with RPG rockets and automatic gunfire.

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