Yemeni opposition holds talk with GCC leaders in Riyadh; New political bloc formed in Yemen
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  • Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and a delegation of top opposition leaders from Yemen met in Riyadh on April 17 to discuss ways and means to defuse the worsening political crisis in Yemen. In the meeting, the GCC and Yemeni leaders discussed a proposal for an early departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh to secure peace and an end to political unrest in the country. They also reviewed a proposal that calls for a timetable for the president to leave office. The GCC proposal calling for Saleh to hand over power to his Vice-President and form a unity government headed by the opposition was the basis of the talks. The plan entails Saleh handing over power to the Vice-President within 30 days, with the transfer occurring no more than a week after naming a new Vice-President. The offer guarantees Saleh will not be prosecuted. The GCC initiative also included the expulsion of the President’s son and head of security Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh, as well as head of the national security agency Col. Ammar Mohamed Abdullah Saleh and Col. Yehya Mohamed Abdullah Saleh, chief of staff of the central security agency.1

    Meanwhile, a new political bloc was formed from within President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ruling General People Congress (GPC) causing a direct blow to Saleh efforts to keep his rule powerful. At least twenty members of parliament resigned from Saleh's party and joined the bloc. The bloc, called the “justice and development bloc”, appealed Saleh to step down immediately. Mohammed AbuLahoum, founder of the political bloc stated that, "We will only stand with an initiative that calls for Saleh to step down from power.” He also said that, “The bloc is of the view that the revolution is the backbone of this bloc and that is why the revolution must continue peaceful. The revolution was able to put the Islah and Houthis on the same grounds as well as the northern tribes and southerners with the same agenda."2

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