Saudi officials are intensifying efforts to broker an agreement between the Yemeni government and the opposition that would guarantee a peaceful transition of presidential power based on the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) initiative, Yemeni officials told A-Shorfa.
Saudi Arabia announced its intention to broker a political agreement to resolve the crisis in Yemen before August 15th, Abdul Hafeez al-Nahari, vice president of the Media Department for the ruling Congress Party, told Al-Shorfa.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said Wednesday (August 10th) that the ruling General People's Congress Party is committed to finding a solution to the nation's political impasse with the opposition, according to a report published by Saba, the official news agency. He also stressed the importance of working with the GCC initiative to ensure a peaceful transition of power in accordance with the constitution.
Saleh is currently in Riyadh recovering from injuries he sustained during an attack on the presidential palace June 3rd.
The president met with several state officials and advisers in Riyadh where they discussed ways to implement the GCC initiative in response to growing pressure from Arab and international officials to end the political deadlock. The initiative called for Saleh to resign, transfer authority to the vice president and hold elections within 60 days of leaving office.
Saleh met Dr. Abdul Karim al-Ariani, his political adviser, and Dr. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, second deputy of the ruling Party and foreign minister in the caretaker government. Also present were the prime minister and the speaker of the parliament who were also injured during the attack on the presidential compound and are receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia.
The Yemeni officials discussed the country's political, economic, and security situations and the statement issued by UN Security Council Tuesday which called on Yemen's political parties to begin negotiating and renounce violence.
Al-Nahari told Al-Shorfa that all political parties acknowledge that the mechanism of implementation of the GCC initiative is not appropriate because of the current political situation. He added that the two-month period for holding a presidential election as stipulated in the initiative is also inappropriate.
"The ruling Party adheres to its constitutional rights and to Saleh as president until 2013 in accordance with the constitution in the event an agreement is not reached with the opposition," he said.
Al-Nahari said the ruling Party wants to amend the initiative to first transfer authority to the vice president who would hold the title of honorary president until a new president is elected through competitive elections administered by a national consensus government.
Sultan al-Atwani, a leader of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties, told Al-Shorfa the opposition is tired of hearing talk about an imminent political settlement to the crisis.
He added, "Our position is clear. We will not begin a dialogue with the ruling Party unless there is a full transition of power from the president to the vice president in accordance with the Gulf initiative signed by the ruling Party and the Joint Meeting Parties which stipulated that negotiations would be for the purpose of setting the stage for the transition phase."
Naif al-Qanis, a Joint Meeting Parties leader, told Al-Shorfa, "Acceptance by the Joint Meeting Parties of any amendment to the Gulf initiative would be a betrayal of the blood of the martyrs who died during the popular revolution. If the Joint Meeting Parties does that, it would forfeit whatever popularity it has left even among its own members."
Al-Qanis said the Joint Meeting Parties announced its intention to convene the founding meeting of the National Assembly on August 17th. He said the assembly "would be the national custodian of the people's revolution and would choose from among its members a National Council to lead the revolution, complete the process of revolutionary and fundamental change, and meet the aspirations of the Yemeni people for a modern civil state of law, order, and equal citizenship".
Abdo al-Jundi, deputy information minister, said during a Wednesday press conference that the proposed National Council is a declaration of war on existing constitutional institutions because it creates a state within a state and will plunge the country into civil war.
Al-Jundi said the Joint Meeting Parties bears responsibility for the consequences of the council's founding. He said it would be "the spark that would ignite a civil war in Yemen," adding, "it would be stillborn, like the rest of the councils that were announced previously", a reference to the transitional council announced by the preparatory committee of the peaceful youth revolution in mid-July.