Yemeni President Reneges on Power Transfer Deal
Yemeni President Abdullah Saleh has reneged on a deal to transfer power to an interim government.
The deal would have ended Saleh's 33-year reign in the next 30 days, in return for immunity from prosecution for him and his family.
Brokered by a representative of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the agreement was to be signed Wednesday. For weeks the two sides haggled over the terms, as protesters repeatedly called for the president's ouster.
A phone call Wednesday from U.S. President Barack Obama's senior counterterrorism adviser, John O. Brennan, did not move Saleh.
According to Abdu al-Janadi, Yemen's deputy Information Minister, Saleh objected to three out of the five opposition members sent to ink the deal. The Yemeni president contended that the their signatures would not be legally valid because they were lower-tier officials, and thus could not be held accountable.
Yemen's state-run Saba news agency reported that the GCC representative who was to be present at the signing, Gulf council head Abdulatif al-Zayani, left the country.
At least 100 people have died in clashes with government forces during the past three months of anti-government protests.
Moreover, the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which has operated for years in the country, has begun to strengthen its grip on the capital, Sana'a, due to the chaos that often reigns in the city.