[QODLink]
Middle East
Yemen president seeks guarantees on exit
Saleh says he will sign GCC peace deal, but only if unspecified guarantees are provided by the US, EU and Gulf states.
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2011 20:01
Tawakkul Karman, Yemeni Nobel peace laureate, has called on the UN to not grant Saleh impunity [Reuters]

Ali Abdullah Saleh, president of Yemen, has agreed to sign a Gulf peace deal calling for a transfer of power, but only if the United States, Europe and Gulf Arab states gave him unspecified guarantees.

"Now that the president has returned, they say there is no need for the vice president to sign. Fine, I am ready to sign," Saleh said in a broadcasted meeting with party leaders in the capital Sanaa on Wednesday.

"But provide guarantees to implement this initiative. We want Gulf guarantees, first, second, European guarantees and third American guarantees," he added.

Saleh's comments came after the five permanent members of the UN Security Council circulated a draft resolution to the full 15-nation body urging the swift signing and implementation of an agreement "on the basis of" the Gulf Co-operation Council's (GCC) initiative.

Under the plan, Saleh would transfer power to his deputy until elections could be held and be immune from prosecution.

Despite promises to sign the initiative, Saleh has backed out three times - saying that he will only hand over power to "safe hands".

Violence in Yemen, where thousands have been demonstrating for months demanding that the president end his 33 years in power, has spiked since he returned from Saudi Arabia in September - where he received treatment for injuries sustained in an assassination attempt.

Questions of accountability

Western Security Council diplomats denied that the draft resolution was an endorsement of the GCC initiative, although one envoy referred to the deal as "the only game in town".

The draft resolution, obtained by Reuters news agency, would have the Security Council say that it "stresses that all those responsible for violence, human rights violations and abuses should be held accountable". It did not give any details on how accountability would be achieved.

For more on Yemen, visit our Spotlight page

Council diplomats said privately that they hoped the resolution would be voted on and approved next week.

Calling Saleh a "war criminal", Yemeni Nobel peace laureate Tawakul Karman made an impassioned plea to the UN on Tuesday to reject the initiative because it would grant Saleh immunity,

She said that she plans to emphasize that point in a meeting with Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary general, later on Wednesday.

Ban's spokesman said on Tuesday that there should be "no impunity" for rights violations in Yemen.

Referring to the dismantling of now-deceased Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's Baath party after the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq, Saleh said the world has been pushing him to sign the GCC initiative without any assurances on the fate of members of his administration.

"They say sign without any conditions and then we will look into the mechanism of the timing," Saleh said. "First, you must show your goodwill, and then we are willing to sign the initiative," he added.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
The author argues that in the new economy, it's people, not skills or majors, that have lost value.
Colleagues of detained Al Jazeera journalists press demands for their release, 100 days after their arrest in Egypt.
Mehdi Hasan discusses online freedoms and the potential of the web with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.
A tight race seems likely as 814 million voters elect leaders in world's largest democracy next week.
Featured
Venezuela's president lacks the charisma and cult of personality maintained by the late Hugo Chavez.
Despite the Geneva deal, anti-government protesters in Ukraine's eastern regions don't intend to leave any time soon.
Since independence, Zimbabwe has faced food shortages, hyperinflation - and several political crises.
After a sit-in protest at Poland's parliament, lawmakers are set to raise government aid to carers of disabled youth.
A vocal minority in Ukraine's east wants to join Russia, and Kiev has so far been unable to put down the separatists.
join our mailing list