GCC secretary general to return to Yemen

02 May 2011

Abdul-Latif al-Zayyani will try to convince President Ali Abdullah Saleh to stand down

Abdul-Latif al-Zayyani, the secretary general of the GCC, will return to Yemen on 2 May to try for a second time to convince the country’s president to step down.

Sources close to negotiations over the departure of Ali Abdullah Saleh, the country’s embattled leader of nearly 33 years, say that al-Zayyani hopes to get negotiations for a transition of power in the country back on track.

Saleh had been expected to endorse a plan for his departure and a transition of power in the country on 30 April, but said he would only sign in his capacity as head of the ruling General People’s Congress, not as president. The country’s opposition coalition, the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) refused to sign up for the deal without the president’s full approval, leaving negotiations at a stalemate.

“The secretary general will come back [on 2 May],” says a source close to the negotiations. “Hopefully, that means something. The secretary general wouldn’t come back without good reason.”

Saleh had become increasingly defiant in the face of the country’s growing protest movement, with Yemen’s security forces shooting dead scores of generally peaceful protesters since the movement began in late January.

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