JMP says GCC initiative is dead By: Shatha Al-Harazi
The GCC initiative offered an agreement to end “the political crises” in Yemen by transferring power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to a national coalition government 30 days after the president signed the agreement. Members of the coalition government would have been 50 percent from the General People’s Congress (GPC), 40 percent from the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), and 10 percent from independent groups. The agreement would also have guarantee the president immunity from prosecution.
Although a second visit from the Secretary-General of the GCC has been delayed on request from President Saleh, the president has denied reports that said he refused the initiative. The JMP said that the agreement is now dead, although the GCC, the US, the EU and Russia still consider the GCC initiative as the path to end the political deadlock in Yemen.
On Wednsday, the prime minister held a conference explaining the impact of the GCC initiative on Yemen’s future. The prime minister called on JMP leaders to take a national position, and to stop inciting those on the street as the only tool for change.
On the other hand, Mohammed Al-Sabri, one of the leaders of the JMP, told the Yemen times that the JMP was “forced” to accept the agreement from the beginning. “We grudgingly accepted the terms of the agreement. As a political opposition, we had no alternative,” said Al-Sabri.
On Saturday, President Saleh refused to sign the agreement in his capacity as President of the Republic of Yemen, but rather offered to sign as head of the ruling GPC party. The foreign ministers of the GCC countries had planned to hold a meeting in Riyadh on Monday for Saleh and the JMP to sign the agreement, but negotiations ceased when Saleh refused to sign as president.
The JMP said they have no problem with the ruling GPC party. They see the main problem as President Saleh himself, and thus demanded that the agreement be signed by Saleh as the head of the country. Any other suggestion would not be accepted by the JMP.
Abdu Al-Ghani Al-Eryani, a political analyst, told the Yemen times that both parties should be held responsible for not signing the agreement. He considered the agreement the only way to lift Yemen out of the current political crisis that has been on-going since mid February, and the only way to avoid a civil war.
The initiative aimed to end the political tension on the ground by removing military and security vehicles from the streets.
“It’s normal for a president not to want to sign his own departure, so it’s normal that he wants it to fail,” said Al-Eryani. However, he also blamed the the opposition parties, who he claimed were “playing with the people’s destinies to attain political gains.”
Al-Sabri disagreed that the initiative was the only way to end the political deadlock. “The issue isn’t in our hands, it’s in the people’s hands – those who are in the ‘Change Squares’ – and for us we conceder the agreement dead,” said Al-Sabri.
The JMP said that Saleh – who has a history of not abiding by agreements – is trying to shirk from the agreement by signing as the head of the GPC. However El-Eryani thinks that as long as President Saleh signs with his full name, then it doesn’t matter whether he signs as the president or as the head of the party.
“We shouldn’t care how Saleh signs the agreement. It’s not a document that will be used in court. Instead of wasting time the JMP should have told the GCC how they want the agreement to be, and the GCC would put it in mind,” said Al-Eryani.
Protesters in ‘Change Squares’ all over the country rejected the GCC initiative that provides the president immunity from prosecution.
Moreover, the ruling GPC party doesn’t accept any agreement that includes Saleh’s departure. They call his stay as president until 2013 as “constitutional legitimacy.”