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Yemen Prez Saleh agrees to step down

world Updated: Apr 25, 2011 00:50 IST

AP
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Yemen's embattled president has agreed 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.

A coalition of seven opposition parties said they also accepted the deal but with reservations. Even if the differences are overcome, those parties do not speak for all of the protesters seeking President Ali Abdullah Saleh's removal, and signs were already emerging that a deal on those terms would not end protests.

US state department spokesman Mark Toner said Washington welcomes the proposal for ending the crisis and called for immediate dialogue by all sides on a transfer of power.

“We will not speculate about the choices the Yemeni people will make or the results of their political dialogue," he said. “It is ultimately for the people of Yemen to decide how their country is governed.”

Later, the White House urged all parties in Yemen “to move swiftly to implement“ a deal transferring power. The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has been seeking to broker an end to the crisis in Yemen.

Under the latest draft, Yemen's parliament would grant Saleh legal protection from prosecution. The president would submit his resignation to lawmakers within 30 days and hand power to his vice president, who would call for new presidential elections.