Yemen uprising: Saleh is latest scalp of Arab Spring

Yemeni president hands over power on condition that he receives immunity from prosecution.

Agencies November 23, 2011

SANAA: Bowing to months of massive street protest and spiralling violence, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh finally signed a deal in Riyadh on Wednesday that will end his 33-year hardline rule.

Yemeni television said Saleh arrived in the Saudi capital early on Wednesday. UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Benomar confirmed the 69-year-old president was to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered deal under which he will immediately hand over power to his deputy. It was later confirmed that Saleh had signed the deal.

The opposition signed the deal in April but Saleh repeatedly stalled, triggering months of political deadlock that has left the government in a state of chaos and the economy in shambles.

Benomar said both parties would also sign a UN-crafted roadmap which sets a mechanism for implementing the Gulf plan, under which Saleh will hand power to his deputy in return for immunity from prosecution.

Protestors in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, said that they would reject any deal which gave Saleh immunity.

According to the agreement, Saleh will immediately hand “all necessary constitutional powers to his deputy Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi,” a diplomatic source said.

Yemeni television said Saleh was in Riyadh “in response to an invitation by the Saudi leadership to attend the signing of the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism ... to take the country out of its crisis.”

Saleh’s visit came after the UN’s Yemen envoy said on Tuesday a deal aimed at ending months of political deadlock had been approved both by the opposition and by the president.

Further developments also emerged from the UN on Wednesday, with news that Saleh will seek medical treatment in New York.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “He told me clearly that he will hand over all powers. He told me that he would come to New York after signing the agreement to have medical treatment.” Ban added that he was “encouraged by the positive development of the situation in Yemen.” 

Published in The Express Tribune, November 24th, 2011.


j. von hettlingen | 10 years ago | Reply

The transition of power will not appease the protesters, as the deal includes an immunity guarantee for Mr Saleh and his allies. Saleh's son, Ahmed Ali, is unlikely to relinquish his command of the elite Republican Guard without significant pressure. Furthermore there are rivalling families who control the northern and western suburbs of Sanaa. Stability in Yemen is still far away.

Hamid | 10 years ago | Reply

He is only handing the power to his deputy and go for medical checkup in the US. This is what we have learnt.

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