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Yemen's President Agrees to Power Transfer

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a rally of supporters in Sana'a, April 8, 2011

Yemen's president has welcomed a proposal by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that he transfer powers to his vice president, saying he is prepared to hand over power "peacefully within the framework of the constitution."

The six-nation GCC did not specify a time frame for the power transfer, however, and the statement from Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Monday appears to indicate that he agrees to transfer power after the next elections in 2013.

Yemen's opposition on Monday rejected the initiative proposed by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Protesters have called for an immediate end to Mr. Saleh's 32-year rule and do not accept the GCC proposal's protections from prosecution for the president and his family.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of Sana'a, Taiz, Hudaida and elsewhere Monday, protesting against the GCC plan and demanding that Mr. Saleh go.

President Saleh has previously offered to resign, but only after new elections are held.

Clashes between Yemeni security forces and opposition activists have killed more than 100 people since the protests began.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters also rallied in Sana'a, Sunday, as the GCC met to review its mediation efforts.

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

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