Yemen's ruling party has sent a team to meet President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a party official said on Thursday, in an apparent effort to revive a deal to ease him out of power and end a stalemate paralysing the country for seven months.
Saleh, in Saudi Arabia recovering from a June assassination attempt, has defied months of mass protests against his 33-year rule and confounded international efforts to solve the crisis by repeatedly backtracking on the deal.
"A legal team has left for Riyadh ... to meet the president and complete the constitutional manner of President Saleh handing his powers as head of state to his deputy," the ruling party official told Reuters.
The move came after the party on Wednesday proposed changes to the power transfer deal to give Saleh 90 days instead of 30 to leave power once he signs it.
An official from an opposition coalition told Reuters opponents would continue to step up protests, apparently wary that Saleh would again reject the plan. He has already backed out of signing it at the last minute three times.
"Our position is clear: peaceful escalation (of protests)," said Houria Mashour, adding that the opposition had already signed the plan and continued to support it.
Last month, Saleh gave the green light for his General People's Congress party to amend the plan brokered by Yemen's Gulf Arab neighbours.
The United States and neighbouring oil giant Saudi Arabia have pushed for Saleh to sign the Gulf power transition plan, which has been amended several times.
Amendments approved by Saleh's party would have him transfer his powers to his vice president, Abbd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, after signing the deal and gives him three months to formally step down, as opposed to 30 days previously.
After Saleh leaves, elections would be held and the opposition would form an interim unity government for a two-year transition period, retaining Hadi as interim president.
The government would use the time to draft a new constitution and hold a dialogue with insurgent groups such as Shi'ite Muslim rebels in the north and southern separatists.
The new plan also requires a restructuring of the military within three months of Saleh signing the deal. Saleh's family dominates the armed forces' high command. His son, Ahmed Ali Saleh, who the opposition worries is being groomed to succeed him, heads the elite Republican Guard.
Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2011, 12:16