Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yemen crisis in stalemate after president backs out of deal

Gulf Cooperation Council, Saudi Arabian and U.S. officials fear a new insurgency in the Red Sea choke point if a deal for Yemeni president's ouster is not reached soon

Sanaa - The Gulf Cooperation Council is sending its secretary general back to Yemen to try to extract the President's signature on a deal that would allow him to step down as head of the ruling party and president of this strategically located nation.

Mr. Ali Abdulla Saleh walked out of a deal brokered with opposition forces by the U.S., Saudi Arabia and the GCC, refusing to sign the full agreement which would have called for his ouster as president, only the part about resigning as the head of the majority party.

The Youth of Revolution opposition group said it rejected the GCC proposal because it did not call for an immediate ouster of Saleh, adding that the GCC effort was only designed to save the regime — not to help the people.

Conservative states such as Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudia Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates have expressed concern that if Mr. Saleh is not outsted quickly, a branch of Al Qaeda will gain new and more profound influence among opposition leaders in Yemen, a former British Protectorate located at the narrowest part of the Red Sea near the Horn of Africa, which, with Somalia, dominates access to the sea route to the Meditarranean at the Suez Canal.

The GCC, which consists of oil-rich sheikdoms and principalities located on the Persian Gulf, had rejected Yemen for full membership in its council, which is on the verge of issuing its own currency, known as the Khaliji. So far, the council has rejected Yemen for full membership in the organization.

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