May 22, 2011
The Gulf Cooperation Council suspended mediation efforts in Yemen because of the refusal of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign an agreement to step down from power.
The decision was the result of an emergency meeting among GCC foreign ministers who met Sunday in Saudi Arabia.
The Yemeni opposition signed the deal on Saturday, but Saleh wanted a public signing ceremony at the presidential palace, which is surrounded by pro-Saleh armed supporters.
Saleh even warned of a civil war if opposition leaders refused to sign again the documents in a public ceremony. He said any subsequent civil unrest arising from the incident would be blamed on the opposition.
The agreement would have Saleh resign within 30 days, but provided him immunity from prosecution.
The civil unrest continued in Yemen as armed supporters of Saleh blockaded GCC Secretary General Abdul Latif Zayani and ambassadors from some Arab and western nations inside the United Arab Emirates embassy on Sunday. The foreign diplomats were airlifted out of the embassy.
On the same day, anti-government protesters held a rally at the Yemini capital city of Sanaa. The protestors threatened to step up pressure on Saleh to quit his post by threatening to march to government buildings. The protesters had done that in the past, which had cost about 140 lives.
Tribal leaders stations armed gunmen on main roads in anticipation of violence erupting in the strife-torn nation.
Source: All Headline News (AHN).