GCC Aims to Start Over as Yemen Peace Process Collapses

After Backing Deal, President Saleh Refuses to Sign

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is back at square one today and promises another effort at mediation in Yemen after the previous peace deal collapsed early Sunday. The deal was an effort to placate growing street protests in Yemen with the promise of   President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s resignation.

Though Saleh had backed the GCC’s efforts publicly, it was ultimately Saleh’s refusal to follow through that ended today’s talks and had GCC negotiators leaving in failure. The official deal was supposed to see Saleh sign early and the opposition finalize the deal in Riyadh.

But Saleh refused to sign the deal, and then the political opposition factions the GCC has been treating as a proxy for the protesters also refused to sign. Opposition spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said Saleh’s signature was an “essential point.”

The deal would have required Saleh to submit his resignation within 30 days, transferring power to a top general. Though this fit the long-standing demands of Saleh that any transfer of power be to one of his allies, it is unclear whether it would have satisfied the student protesters. They, after all, were demanding free elections and not merely the transfer of power from one military ruler to another.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.