Yemeni Opposition Leaders to Confer With Regional Bloc

Sana, Yemen – Opposition leaders from Yemen said they planned to travel to Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss an agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council on a timetable for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office.

Yassin Saeed Noman, the head of a coalition of opposition parties known as the J.M.P., said he and three other opposition leaders would travel to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, to meet with council officials about an initiative discussed earlier this month that calls for Mr. Saleh to transfer presidential powers to his deputy and leave office.

The draft agreement also gives the president and his family immunity from prosecution, presumably to head off a situation similar to that in Egypt, where the military has detained former President Hosni Mubarak and his two sons.

Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s largest donor, dominates the Gulf Cooperation Council, a regional bloc that also includes Oman, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Yemen does not belong to the council.

Senior Yemeni officials have said in recent days that the United States and theEuropean Union are pressing for a plan — in conjunction with the Gulf Cooperation Council — which would have Mr. Saleh hand over his powers immediately and formally leave office within the next three months.

It was not immediately clear whether any Western officials would join the gathering in Riyadh.

J.M.P. leaders have previously insisted they would not meet with the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh unless an agreement on a transfer of power was in place.

One of the opposition leaders, Abdulmalik Almutawakel, said Sunday that the opposition group was not going to Saudi Arabia for “a dialogue,” nor would the group compromise on its demands for Mr. Saleh to step down.

The article “Yemeni Opposition Leaders to Confer With Regional Bloc” originally appeared in The New York Times.