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Russian Delegation Attempts Intervention in Yemen Crisis


Anti-government protesters shout at soldiers at an army barrier blocking a demonstration demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz, May 3, 2011

Anti-government protesters shout at soldiers at an army barrier blocking a demonstration demanding the ouster of Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz, May 3, 2011

A Russian delegation is in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, trying to salvage a political deal that would ease Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh out of power.

Yemeni media reported on Tuesday that the delegation is meeting with government officials and the main opposition group after a Gulf Arab plan to end Yemen's political stalemate stalled.

The plan called for President Saleh to hand over power to a deputy and resign within 30 days of signing the initiative. It would have established a unity government that would have included opposition members. A presidential election would take place two months after Saleh leaves office.

Both the opposition and Saleh said last week that they agreed to the deal. But Saleh said over the weekend that he would sign the deal only as leader of the ruling General People's Congress party but not in his capacity as president - as required by the plan.

Officials with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, which sponsored the accord, said the deal's signing ceremony has been indefinitely postponed.

Gulf officials said a top official is due back in Yemen on Tuesday to try to get the deal moving again.

At least 140 people have died in anti-government unrest since January. Protesters are demanding Saleh's immediate removal.

Officials say the army opened fire on protesters in the port city of Aden Monday, killing one demonstrator. Activists and medics say at least two protesters were killed in Aden on Saturday as security forces moved in to clear a square they had occupied.

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