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Yemen President Again Refuses To Sign Resignation Accord

A TV grab shows President Ali Abdullah Saleh (left) and U.S. ambassador Gerald Feierstein (right) as ruling party leaders signed an exit agreement at the Presidential Palace in Sanaa on May 22. Saleh did not sign the deal.
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh has again refused to sign a deal to step down, leaving unresolved the crisis in the Arabian Peninsula country over demands by protesters that he end his nearly 33-year rule.

Saleh on May 22 declined at the last minute to sign the Gulf Arab and U.S.-backed accord, which would have given him immunity from prosecution if he resigned within 30 days.

State-run Yemeni television said he would only sign in the presence of opposition leaders, who had signed the agreement on May 21.

It is the third time that Saleh has backed out of putting his signature to an accord aimed at ending the unrest in Yemen, in which more than 170 protesters are reported to have been killed by security forces.

In response to Saleh's refusal to sign, the Gulf Cooperation Council bloc said it was suspending its initiative to mediate in the Yemen crisis because of what it called a "a lack of suitable conditions."

U.S., European, and Arab ambassadors who were trying to act as mediators in the crisis were trapped for hours on May 22 in the United Arab Emirates' Embassy in Sanaa by armed supporters of Saleh. The diplomats were later evacuated by helicopter.

compiled from agency reports