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Yemen's Saleh Signs Deal To Quit Power

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the opposition have signed a power-transfer deal in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Under the deal, mediated by Arab states as a way to resolve his country's crisis, Saleh is to transfer power to his deputy ahead of an early election in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Saleh, who has ruled Yemen for 33 years, said, "We welcome partnership with the opposition to manage the country's affairs and rebuild what the crisis has destroyed," stressing that it should be a "real partnership."

The United States welcomed the deal, with State Department spokesman Mark Toner saying it marked "a significant step for the Yemeni people."

Meanwhile, protesters continue to camp out in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, rejecting the deal and demanding Saleh's immediate departure.

The United Nations said Saleh would head to New York to receive medical treatment after signing the deal.

He traveled to Saudi Arabia in June to be treated for injuries he sustained in an attack on his palace in Sanaa.

Hundreds of people are believed to have been killed and thousands wounded as security forces cracked down on protesters who have been calling for Saleh's ouster for months.

compiled from agency reports

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