WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Washington said it was encouraged by signs of political transition in Yemen but said there remained steps to be taken before a final deal is signed.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Monday from Riyadh that he authorized Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to conduct a dialogue that would lead to "an early presidential election and ensure a legal and democratic transition of power."
A Gulf Cooperation Council proposal called on Saleh to stand down in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, in a statement, welcomed the steps taken by the embattled Yemeni president, who remains in Saudi Arabia after receiving medical treatment there for wounds suffered in an attack in June.
Nuland said Washington wanted more from Yemen after Saleh delayed the GCC initiative for most of the year. She said Yemen should have presidential elections by the end of the year to form a unity government. A high committee should also oversee political and military affairs during early election preparations.
"The United States believes that these remaining tasks can and should be accomplished quickly and it hopes that an agreement is reached and the signing of the GCC initiative takes place within one week," she said in a statement.