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Saleh asks Gulf mediator to delay visit

President Saleh meets Gulf Mediators

By NY Staff.

Seniors officials said Tuesday that President Ali Abdullah Saleh sent a formal letter to Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, general-secretary of the Gulf Cooperation Council, requesting the delay of his second visit to Sana’a.

The letter was sent Monday, just as al-Zayani was expecting to meet with Saleh to ask him to resign as part of the GCC’s initiative to resolve the crisis, they said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

A deal to end Yemen’s political crisis neared collapse on Sunday after the country’s embattled president refused to personally sign it, leaving a deadlock that threatens to plunge the impoverished Arab nation and key U.S. ally deeper into disorder and bloodshed.

A mediation plan put forward by six U.S. allies grouped in the Gulf Cooperation Council, or GCC, looked close to fruition, with the established opposition political parties and Saleh himself agreeing to it. The plan called for Saleh to step down within 30 days and for a national unity government to run the country until elections are held.

Two associates of Yemen’s president said he has asked a mediator from the neighboring Gulf countries seeking to resolve the country’s crisis to indefinitely delay his visit.

The decision is the latest blow to attempts to resolve weeks of anti-government unrest in this impoverished Arab country.

The council “hopes to remove the obstacles that are still hindering reaching a final agreement between the parties in Yemen,” it said in a statement.