Opposition forces in Yemen have spurned a peace initiative by the Gulf States to resolve the country’s political crisis and have now set a two-week deadline for embattled President Ali Abdullah to resign his office.
We have renewed our emphasis on the need for speeding the process of [Saleh] standing down within two weeks. Therefore we will not go to Riyadh [for talks], said leading opposition figure Mohammed al-Mutawakkil, according to Al Jazeera.
Yemeni opposition figures have also met with Gulf ambassadors to discuss the proposed transfer of power in more detail; but remained dissatisfied by the terms.
We didn't find in the clarifications that the ambassadors presented anything that meets our demands for an immediate removal, Mutawakkil said. There was nothing new from the Gulf Cooperation Council ambassadors.
Thousands of Yemenis have assembled across the poverty-stricken to demand Saleh leave and to express their disapproval of a Saudi-brokered deal to transfer power to one of Saleh’s deputies.
Although the Gulf proposal provides for an orderly transition of power, it does not have a timetable for such measures; moreover, it appears to give Saleh and his family immunity from any future prosecution for crimes and corruption allegedly committed during his reign.
The initiative does not clearly mention the immediate departure of the head of the regime and it did not touch on the fate of his relatives who are at the top military and security agencies that continue killing the peaceful protesters, the anti-government Civil Alliance of the Youth Revolution said in a statement.
Yesterday, five people were killed in the capitol Sanaa in a clash between forces loyal to the government and those allied with a former army general who defected to the other side.
Incidentally, that general, Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a relative of Saleh, has embraced the peace initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
Two other people were killed on Wednesday in a similar clash in the city of Aden.
At least 100 people have died in Yemen since the revolt erupted months ago, with no signs of abatement.
Saleh has been a key ally of the U.S., because of his willingness to fight Al-Qaeda terrorists thought to be residing in Yemen. Saleh has long warned that without him, Yemen would descend into sectarian chaos.
The president has vowed that he will remain in his office until his current term expires in 2013.