White House to President of Yemen: Don’t Let the Door Hit You On the Way Out

By Cullen Dirner

May 18, 2011 1:19pm

The White House called President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen this morning to urge him to sign and implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement that would result in his stepping down within a month.

John Brennan, President Obama’s top adviser on counterterrorism and the point-man for Yemen, made the phone call, delivering the message that the agreement should be signed today “so that Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political transition,” according to the diplomatically-worded official read-out of the call.

Under the agreement, Saleh would resign with immunity by the end of the month. His political party – led by vice president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi – would work with opposition leaders to form a unity government and a presidential election would be held within two months.

Saleh went back on the previously negotiated agreement with opposition leaders brokered by the six-nation GCC.

"For our part, we have agreed," Muhammad Naimi, the head of the opposition's political bureau, was quoted saying in the Los Angeles Times. "Whether the government will actually commit to the document, or backtrack again, that is another story."

Read the White House read-out: “Brennan noted that this transfer of power represents the best path forward for Yemen to become a more secure, unified, and prosperous nation and for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for peace and political reform. He affirmed the commitment of the United States to stand with the Yemeni government and people as they implement this historic agreement, foster economic development, and combat the security threat from al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula.  Brennan also reiterated that all parties must refrain from violence and proceed with the transition in a peaceful and orderly manner.”

-Jake Tapper

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