The Envoy

Yemen ruling party said to agree to plan for Saleh to step down

The Envoy

Yemen's ruling party has agreed to a political transition plan put forward by the Persian Gulf bloc of Arab nations under which its three decade ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh would step down, the party spokesman told Reuters.

"The ruling party informed the foreign ministers of the [Gulf Cooperation Council] GCC of their acceptance of the Gulf initiative in full," a spokesman for the Yemeni ruling party Tariq Shami told Reuters Saturday.

Under the GCC-proposed plan, Saleh would turn over power to his vice president a month after an official agreement is signed with opposition forces, and will be granted immunity from prosecution, Reuters reported.

The United States tentatively welcomed the development, but stressed the urgency of a political dialogue in Yemen that includes all sides, including Yemeni youth, to advance a peaceful transfer of power in the country, the poorest in the Arab world.

"We welcome the recent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative to address the challenging political situation in Yemen," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said in a statement Saturday. "The participation of all sides in this dialogue is urgently needed to reach a solution supported by the Yemeni people. President Saleh has publicly expressed his willingness to engage in a peaceful transfer of power; the timing and form of this transition should be identified through dialogue and begin immediately."

"There must be genuine participation by all sides including youth in an open and transparent process that addresses the legitimate concerns of the Yemeni people, including their political and economic aspirations and their calls to quickly bring all perpetrators of violence against protestors to justice," Toner said.

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