x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Yemen president welcomes GCC efforts to end political crisis

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said in a statement yesterday that he ¿welcomes efforts exerted by brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council to help in finding a solution for the current crisis in Yemen.

SANA'A // Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh yesterday welcomed Gulf "efforts" to end his country's political crisis, saying he was ready for a "peaceful" transfer of power in a constitutional way, according to a statement from his office.

"In compliance with statements (he) made several times ... his excellency the president has no reservation against transferring power peacefully and smoothly within the framework of the constitution," said the statement.

The statement said that Yemeni president again "welcomes efforts exerted by brothers in the Gulf Cooperation Council to help in finding a solution for the current crisis in Yemen".

But it fell short of saying clearly whether he accepted a direct GCC proposal calling on Mr Saleh to step down and ensure a peaceful transition of power to his deputy, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.

"The Yemeni Republic stresses that it will deal positively with the (GCC) statement as a base for dialogue," said the statement, which came a day after a meeting of GCC foreign ministers in Riyadh.

Mr Saleh, who has been in power since 1978 and faces fierce protests demanding his departure since late January, on Friday rejected such a proposal for his exit made by Qatar's prime minister as a "blatant interference in Yemeni affairs".

His defiant statement came after Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani had said that the GCC member countries "hope to reach a deal with the Yemeni president to step down".

Yemen, an impoverished neighbour of the GCC, recalled its ambassador to Doha in protest.