Yemen President Agrees to Sign Exit Deal

Ali Abdullah Saleh expected to sign transition deal today
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 18, 2011 8:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh has reached an agreement with the opposition and is expected to sign a deal leading to his departure later today. The agreement, modified slightly from the one Saleh refused to sign earlier this month, will ease him from power within one month, Reuters reports. A coalition of Gulf Arab nations brokered the deal, with some intervention from US and European diplomats, according to the opposition. Just last week, protesters blocked a sea port and brought three cities to a standstill with an anti-Saleh strike.

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Al Arabiya television quoted an adviser to Saleh who confirmed the president would sign today, but CNN quotes an aide who says he’ll sign within 48 hours. An opposition official also said last night he doubts Saleh will keep to the 24-hour deadline he was given, because “signing means that his rule will be over in 30 days.” Last time around, the deal fell apart when Saleh would only agree to sign as ruling party leader, not president; this time, both the opposition and a Saleh aide say he will sign as president and on behalf of the ruling party. (Read more Ali Abdullah Saleh stories.)

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