May 18 - Yemen's president and opposition agree to sign a deal for a transition of power within a month, but such deals in the past have fallen apart. Deborah Lutterbeck reports
A deal to end the Presidency of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh After more than 100 days of unrest Yemen's president and opposition, pressed by Western and Gulf mediators, agree to sign a deal for a transition of power within a month. Yemen's Deputy Minister of Information Abdo al-Janady SOUNDBITE: Abdo al Janady, yemen's Deputy Minister of Information, saying (Arabic): "In principle the president of the republic has agreed to the initiative and he will sign it. However, there is still some discussion regarding the details of this initiative including the duties and obligations of both parties and how to fulfill them." The long delayed Gulf-brokered deal would grant Saleh immunity from prosecution, allowing him a dignified exit from power in the fractious Arabian Peninsula state that he has ruled for nearly 33 years. SOUNDBITE: Yemeni Opposition Official Yahya Abu Usbua, saying (Arabic): "As long as there is commitment to the timeline to achieve the agreement, and the man (President Saleh) leaves a month after he is given a guarantee, then we will be able to have a common language with the protesters in various squares. This will not lead to any excuses to withdraw from the agreement". But some political analysts doubt whether the deal, which would help end three months of street anti-Saleh protests that have paralyzed Yemen's economy, would actually be carried out. Two previous near-deals fell through at the last minute. SOUNDBITE: Abdo al Janady, yemen's Deputy Minister of Information, saying (Arabic): "If the protesters continue to occupy the street and they do not agree to this initiative, then why shall we sign it with a second party which is unable to fulfill their required duties." Saleh, a shrewd political survivor who has outlasted previous opponents' attempts to challenge his power, indicated in April he would sign a Gulf deal, but refused to put his name to it in the final hours. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.