The secretary-general of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a league of Arab states that drew up a deal to remove Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, was due to go to Sanaa as early as Monday to try to salvage the deal, a GCC source said.
Saleh was due to sign the deal on Saturday, agreeing to leave office within a month after 33 years. That would have made him the third Arab ruler toppled after mass street protests.
He appeared to sabotage that plan by refusing to sign in his capacity as president and objecting to GCC member Qatar's part. GCC mediators told Yemen's opposition on Saturday Saleh would only sign the deal as leader of his party.
"This is very typical Saleh," said Dubai-based analyst Theodore Karasik. "He puts off the inevitable."
"I think a negotiated solution is slowly slipping away, and that some type of pressure is going to have to be applied as opposed to words."
Yemen's opposition, furious over the last-minute snag, said it could escalate pressure on the president to step down, after resisting three months of street protests demanding he go.
"We are studying the options of escalations and waiting for a U.S.-European stance on Saleh's refusal to sign," a senior opposition leader told Reuters on Sunday, declining to be named because no formal decision had been taken.
The deal, if resurrected, asks Saleh to appoint a prime minister from the opposition to head a transitional government, which would set a presidential vote for 60 days after he leaves. Saleh, his family and aides would be immune from prosecution.
The GCC ended a meeting over the Yemen crisis in Saudi Arabia on Sunday without an agreement or an announced strategy for reaching one. A signing ceremony in Riyadh was postponed with no sign of it being rescheduled, a second GCC source said.
Protesters say they will stay on the streets until Saleh leaves. They also called for him to be put on trial for corruption and the deaths of the estimated 144 protesters.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 02 Mayıs 2011, 11:45