Abubakr al-Qirbi says deal on a transition of power in protest-hit country could be struck
Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubakr
al-Qirbi said he hopes for a deal on a transition of power in
Yemen on Saturday, and that the time frame of a transfer of
power by President Ali Abdullah Saleh could be negotiated.
"I hope it will be today, before tomorrow," Qirbi, who is
serving as caretaker foreign minister, told Reuters, adding that
a deal would be based on an offer by the president to step down
by year-end after elections and a new constitution.
"President Saleh is willing to look at all possibilities, as
long as there are really serious commitments by the JMP
(opposition) to come and initiate a serious dialogue between
them and the ruling party."
Saleh said on Friday he was ready to cede power to stop more
bloodshed in Yemen, but only to what he called "safe hands"
after weeks of street demonstrations demanding his immediate
Talks have been underway on two tracks to work out the
details of a deal on a peaceful transition of power in the
Arabian Peninsula state that is home to a resurgent arm of al
Qaeda, Yemeni political sources have said.
Qirbi said the country's main opposition party would be
holding talks with the ruling party on Saturday. Discussions
were centering on the time frame of a transition, among other
"I think the time period is something that can be
negotiated. It shouldn't be really an obstacle to reach an
agreement," he said.
"I think things are very close if the real intention is
really to reach an agreement. But if there are parties who want
to obstruct it then of course one cannot predict."
Saleh came under mounting pressure to resign after snipers
firing from rooftops killed 52 protesters a week ago after
Friday prayers, triggering a string of defections including that
of a top general.
Saleh has offered a string of concessions, all rejected by
opposition parties, including this week to transfer power after
the drafting of a new constitution and parliamentary and
presidential elections by the end of the year.