One more time: Yemen’s Saleh poised to step down

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday to sign a Gulf power transfer initiative made by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the country’s state television said.

“The president of the republic arrives safely to the airport of Riyadh to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, following an invitation from the Saudi leadership, to attend the signing of the Gulf initiative,” a ticker running on the bottom of Yemen TV said.

Yemen’s opposition said on Monday it had finalised a deal under which Saleh, who has ruled the impoverished country for 33 years, is to transfer his powers to his deputy.

Saleh has three times backed down from signing such an initiative.

Yemen has been paralysed by months of protests that have weakened the government’s control on the country and allowed militants to take hold of swathes of territory in the south.

The violence has also triggered fears that it could affect neighbouring Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter which shares a long border with Yemen. — Reuters

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