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Yemen's Saleh Agrees To Gulf Proposal On Crisis

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh waves to supporters during a rally in Sanaa on April 22.
Yemen's state-run television says that President Ali Abdullah Saleh has agreed to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and transfer power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

State TV reported that Yemen's foreign minister delivered the government's acceptance to mediators today.

Reuters quoted Tariq Shami, a spokesman for Yemen's ruling party, as confirming that the "ruling party informed the foreign ministers of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] of their acceptance of the gulf initiative in full."

Yemen's opposition coalition today said it welcomed a Gulf Arab initiative for Saleh to hand over power, but would not take part in a national-unity government.

The opposition had been insisting that it would not accept a central element of the Persian Gulf plan: immunity from prosecution for Saleh and his family.

After the announcement, the United States urged Saleh to immediately begin the process to ensure a peaceful transfer of power.

Meanwhile, antigovernment protests continued today. On April 22, protesters staged the largest of two months of demonstrations.

A crackdown by government forces and also Saleh supporters led to the deaths of more than 130 people, prompting some of Saleh's allies to abandon him and join the protesters.

compiled from agency reports