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Feature: Yemeni people breathe sigh of relief as Saleh signs power- transfer deal

11-24-2011 08:40 BJT Special Report:Yemen’s Saleh Signs Power Transfer Deal |

by Fuad Rajeh, Wang Qiuyun

SANAA, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- Most Yemeni people breathed a sigh of relief after President Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal that stipulated him to give power to his deputy after almost nine months of protests calling for the ouster of administration which triggered acute crises in the country.

Muhsen al-Qaini, a protester inside the square outside Sanaa University, said that the signing of the GCC deal by Saleh meant that the country has already turned over a new page in its history.

"We should celebrate because our hearts are now full of hope ... it is really the victory of our protest movement, and I think we will celebrate more gains in the future," al-Qaini said.

"The joy in our square is unbelievable, though there are some who argued the next steps including the implementation of the deal remain the most important thing to end Yemen's crisis," he said.

Many families in Sanaa failed to watch the signing ceremony due to persistent electricity blackouts and other crises caused by the unrest. The capital has been plunged into darkness and power outages which might last more than 20 hours a day.

Manal Yousuf, a housewife in the Shamlan district in northern Sanaa, said that a family relative called her and told her about Saleh's signing of the GCC deal. "There is not electricity here and it's a pity to miss such developments."

"The initial resignation of Saleh is good, but there are still many greedy and corrupt people who always seek to take office at the expense of millions of Yemeni people," she said, adding that the deal was not fair enough since it confiscated the rights of the people in favor of their leader.

"Nonetheless, we have now eliminated Saleh and I am very sure the future of Yemen will be better in one way or another," she said.

Meanwhile, there were also some, including supporters and opponents of the government who were against the deal, with some saying Saleh and his aides should not have been given immunity from prosecution.

Protesters in southern Taiz and western Hodeida provinces staged rallies and strongly expressed their anger after the signing, saying "the deal came to serve serial killers, not the victims and their families."

Abdul Jabar al-Selwi, a protester in the Freedom Square in Taiz, said that the protesters at the square were very disappointed since they realized the deal was a conspiracy against the popular protesters and their goals.

The signing also came as many families, including those in Sanaa, continue to suffer from bad living conditions and crises.

Under the GCC West-backed deal, Saleh should hand over his powers to his deputy Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi, but he will continue to be an honorary president of the country until early presidential elections take place within 90 days from now, according to ruling party officials.

Observers said that the signing of the GCC deal and its implementation mechanism in the Saudi capital Riyadh on Wednesday was a positive move, but may not end the suffering of the Yemeni people soon.

Ahmed Ateeq, a political sociology professor at Sanaa University, said that although the signing was promising, the Yemeni people still need to exert major efforts to change their country.

Meanwhile, some observers insisted it is too early to voice optimism as Saleh is well known for coup against his agreements.

Saleh, who signed the GCC deal after he backed out of the signing three times earlier, has ruled Yemen since 1978. Besides his signature, the opposition and the ruling party signed the implementation mechanism of the deal which called for forming a national unity government by the opposition to rebuild Yemen and hold national dialogues.

Editor:Zhang Hao |Source: Xinhua

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