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UN Envoy: Saleh Agrees to Step Down


Anti-government protesters with an effigy of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011.

Anti-government protesters with an effigy of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Sanaa, Yemen, Oct. 15, 2011.

A United Nations envoy to Yemen says negotiators have reached agreement on a plan that calls for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down in a bid to end the country's political crisis.

Jamal bin Omar said Tuesday that political leaders involved in talks had agreed to an initiative from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that calls for Saleh to transfer power to a deputy. The transfer would be followed by early elections.

Saleh initially agreed to the GCC plan on three previous occasions but then refused to sign the deal.

However, Bin Omar said Tuesday that negotiators were discussing arrangements for a signing ceremony. Media reports say he will provide details in a Tuesday news conference.

For more than 10 months, protesters have been demanding an end to Saleh's 33-year rule. The president's supporters have frequently held rival rallies.

Al-Qaida-linked militants have been trying to gain a stronghold in southern Yemen as the president battles unrest linked to anti-government protests.

On Tuesday, military officials said at least 14 suspected al-Qaida militants were killed in clashes with Yemeni soldiers backed by tribesmen. They say the fighting erupted late Monday in the southern Abyan province.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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