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YEMEN: Opposition figure says government agrees to transition of power

May 18, 2011 |  3:52 am

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Yemen's president and opposition leaders have agreed to sign a Gulf-brokered deal for a transition of power, with slight modifications, after intervention from U.S. and European diplomats, an opposition official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Al Arabiya satellite network also reported that the two sides had reached an agreement with international assistance.

Click-here-for-an-interative-map-detailing-current-events-in-the-MIddle-East-and-North-Africa But there was no immediate confirmation from the government.

"After American, European and Gulf efforts, there was agreement by the president on the Gulf initiative after simple changes, and the signing will be today," opposition official Yahya Abu Usbua told Reuters.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has faced months of anti-government street demonstrations that continued this week, had previously resisted a deal arranged by the six-member nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

That deal would have had Saleh step down within a month, with immunity, handing power over to his vice president and a prime minister from the opposition until presidential elections to be held within two months.

Modifications to the deal proposed by Saleh's ruling party Tuesday and relayed to the opposition by diplomats, would have allowed the ruling party to appoint a unity government for the transition period until elections and would also have changed which opposition representative signed the agreement, an opposition leader told Reuters.

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Timeline: Conflict in Yemen

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Cairo

Photo: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks during a pro-government rally in the capital of Sana, May 13.  Credit: EPA.

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