Diplomats Evacuated From Besieged Yemen Embassy

Saleh refuses to sign agreement to oust him
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 22, 2011 12:18 PM CDT
Yemeni girls chant slogans along with anti-government protestors during a ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of Yemen's reunification, in Sanaa, Yemen, Sunday, May 22, 2011.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
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(Newser) – Witnesses say Yemeni army helicopters took US and other ambassadors out of a besieged embassy to the presidential palace to witness ruling party leaders signing an agreement for the president to step down in 30 days. However, state TV says President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not sign the deal unless opposition leaders are present. The situation is unclear, but many reports say it's deteriorating.

The US, European, and Arab ambassadors, who were pressing Saleh to sign the accord, were trapped for hours today in an embassy by an armed mob of the president's supporters. Eventually, Yemeni army helicopters ferried the diplomats out to the palace. State TV then showed ruling party leaders signing the pact at the palace as Saleh and the US ambassador stood behind them. But Saleh himself refused to sign.

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