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Gulf Council mediating Saleh ouster talks

April 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM   |   Comments

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DOHA, Qatar, April 8 (UPI) -- The Gulf Cooperation Council said it wanted to "reach a deal" leading to the ouster of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh but he rejected the idea Friday.

"We will reject any new initiative from any country dealing with Yemen's current crisis, "Saleh said.

About 125 people have been killed since a political uprising began in Yemen in February and anti-government protests were expected again Friday in Sanaa and other cities, The National newspaper reported.

Prior to Saleh's statement of rejection, Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad bin Jasem said: "We hope to reach a deal with the Yemeni president to step down," Qatar news agency Thursday.

Both sides were invited to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in talks to end the crisis. A date for the talks was not disclosed.

Mohammed Qahtan, a spokesman for Yemen's opposition parties, said a Riyadh deal would be Saleh's last chance for a "safe exit," Gulfnews.com reported Friday.

"The plan calls for the stepping down of [Saleh], guarantee him and his family immunity from prosecution and the formation of a national unity government," Qahtan said. He said the opposition was willing to engage in talks in Riyadh.

The GCC is a political and economic union of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Omar, Qatar and Kuwait.

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