Last updated: 30 August, 2011

Saleh calls for way to implement Gulf’s Yemen plan

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been out of Yemen for nearly three months, called on Tuesday for a mechanism to implement a Gulf plan aimed at a peaceful transition of power in his impoverished country.

Saleh, in a Riyadh hospital since June 4 after being wounded by a bomb in Sanaa, has so far refused to sign a plan proposed by the six Gulf monarchies calling for his resignation after protests against his rule erupted in January.

In an Eid al-Fitr speech carried by the official SANA news agency, Saleh said he has told his ruling General People’s Congress to “make contact with the Common Forum to develop a mechanism for implementing the Gulf plan without delay.”

The Common Forum, a coalition of the parliamentary opposition in Yemen, has refused to renegotiate the Gulf plan which it has already signed, holding Saleh responsible for the ongoing impasse.

The Gulf plan proposes that Saleh would transfer power to the vice president within 30 days in exchange for a promise of immunity from prosecution.

Saleh, while attacking his opponents whom he calls “criminals” and “coup plotters,” also called for “national dialogue” to “set priorities in accordance with the constitution,” referring to his presidential term which ends in 2013.

In his speech, Saleh urged his countrymen to “join forces against those who impede democracy in the country.”

Saleh has appeared in good shape on state television in recent weeks but has so far ignored questions about his possible return to Yemen, an Arabian Peninsula country of some 24 million people and one of the world’s poorest states.