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YEMEN: GCC attempts to revive agreement as Saleh stalls

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The Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdullatif Zayani, was scheduled to arrive in the Yemeni capital of Sana on Saturday for a three-day visit to try to resurrect a deal that would allow longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down with immunity.

The GCC includes six oil-rich countries on the Arabian peninsula who have a vested interest in restoring political stability in Yemen, although Qatar withdrew support for the deal earlier this week as Saleh’s troops clashed with protests.

In remarks published in the Saudi Okaz daily newspaper on Saturday, Saleh said that after any transfer of power he plans to go out on the streets as the opposition and, “bring down the government again.”

He said the GCC deal still needed further negotiation. “There are some clauses in it that are obscure and ambiguous, requiring better clarification through direct talks with the Yemeni groups … in order to reach an agreement on the implementation time frame that will follow,” Saleh was quoted as saying.

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Saleh’s troops reportedly confronted protesters again Saturday in the southern city of Taiz, leaving at least six soldiers dead, one wounded and 35 protesters injured, bringing the death toll since the conflict began to more than 170, according to news wire reports.

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-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo


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