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Yemen's Saleh blocks transition plan

[ 2011-05-24 10:39]     字号 [] [] []  
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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has thwarted a Gulf bid to end four months of deadly protests, refusing to sign up to a plan for his departure from office, in a move that "deeply disappointed" Washington.

In swift reactions to Saleh's renewed rejection of the plan, Yemen's wealthy Gulf neighbors announced late on Sunday that they were suspending their mediation efforts, while US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused him of "turning back on his commitments".

"The United States is deeply disappointed by President Saleh's continued refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative," Clinton said in a statement.

"He is turning his back on his commitments and disregarding the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people," she added.

GCC chief Abdullatif al-Zayani flew out of Sanaa on Sunday after Saleh set a new condition to accepting the six-nation bloc's transition plan, demanding that opposition representatives sign it in his palace.

In response, GCC ministers announced at a meeting in Riyadh that they had suspended their mediation efforts, although they also expressed hope that Saleh might still sign up to the deal, which they described as "the best way possible to overcome the current situation".

Since late January, security forces and armed Saleh supporters have mounted a crackdown on protests demanding his departure, leaving at least 181 people dead, according to a toll compiled from reports by activists and medics.

Zayani and Western envoys were earlier encircled at the United Arab Emirates embassy by armed government loyalists, in a new twist that appeared aimed at stopping the mediator from reaching Saleh's palace for the planned signing.

But two Yemeni helicopters eventually flew the GCC chief and the US ambassador to the palace, an embassy official said.

The GCC statement expressed regret at the incident. Saleh warned of civil war if the opposition refuses to sign the GCC deal in his presence. "If they remain stubborn, we will confront them everywhere with all possible means," he said.

(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Yemen's Saleh blocks transition plan

About the broadcaster:

Yemen's Saleh blocks transition plan

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.