Yemeni opposition threatens to back out of GCC deal
Chairman of the Yemeni National Council, which was formed to force President Ali Abdullah Saleh's resignation, warned that the opposition would not deal with the deal initiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) unless Saleh resigns first, opposition media reported late Saturday.
"The GCC initiative would no longer be acceptable unless the president hands over the power immediately, and GCC's condition of granting Saleh and his family immunity from prosecution should be excluded," Almasdaronline quoted Chairman of the National Council Mohammed Basindwah as saying.
Basindwah, who also leads the National Dialogue Committee of the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), ruled out the possibility of toppling Saleh by military action of the defected army. "We have a plan of escalating peaceful protest to stave Yemen off bloodshed, chaos and civil war that is being plotted by Saleh's regime," he said at a meeting of the 143-member National Council in Sanaa late Saturday.
Basindwah's warning came hours before a planned protest across the country on Sunday to press Saleh and his family members who still lead military and security bodies to quit, Xinhua reported.
As a precautionary measure, both the government security bodies and defected army have been deploying forces since early Saturday in major cities, including the capital Sanaa, Taiz, Ibb, Thamar and Al-Hodayda, to prepare for any potential clashes, officials affiliated with the rivals told Xinhua.
Yemen has been gripped by a political crisis since late January when protests demanding the end of Saleh's 33-year rule erupted.
Saleh, who is still in Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation from injuries he sustained in a shelling attack on his presidential compound on June 3, said in an audio speech aired by the state TV on Monday that he was willing to sign the GCC-brokered deal to prepare for holding elections for a new president.