Yemen's embattled president agreed today to a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators to step down within 30 days and hand power to his deputy in exchange for immunity from prosecution. It's a major about-face for the autocratic leader who has ruled for 32 years. A coalition of seven opposition parties, which do not speak for all of the hundreds of thousands of protesters seeking President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster, said they also accepted the deal but with reservations. Even if the differences are overcome, it is unclear whether the many different groups of protesters will agree to immediately leave the streets.
Yesterday, protesters staged the largest of two months of demonstrations, filling a five-lane boulevard across the capital with a sea of hundreds of thousands of people. A deadly crackdown by government forces and Saleh supporters has killed more than 130 people and prompted key allies to abandon the president and join the protesters. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes powerful Saudi Arabia, has been seeking to broker an end to the crisis in the fragile and impoverished nation on the southern edge of the Arabian peninsula. Click for previous stories on Yemen. (Read more Yemen stories.)