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Saleh demands guarantees before resigning

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh has pledged to step down after months of political unrest on the country, but only if the EU, US and Gulf nations provide him with guarantees.

After almost nine months of anti-regime protests which has left over 800 people dead, Saleh has agreed to sign a deal proposed by the Gulf Cooperation Council, but wanted guarantees, which are thought to include immunity from prosecution.

The US responded to the statement with State Department spokesman Mark Toner telling reporters,

"We don't believe any further guarantees are necessary."

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's spokesman Martin Nesirky also rejected the idea of immunity for Saleh saying,

"It's vital that there should be no impunity."

This was reiterated by 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate Tawakul Karman who met with the UN Secretary General on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters she said,

"We reject and refuse any immunity for the criminals. Immunity is against what the UN was founded upon."

"We came here to tell them that Ali Saleh and (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad are both criminals and they have to be held accountable and prosecuted."

"The attacks on peaceful protesters are crimes against humanity. Just like the civilians and the peaceful protesters were being killed in Libya and Egypt, they are being killed now in Yemen and elsewhere."

"I feel shame that I will be sleeping tonight in a hotel and my people will be sleeping in the streets… (but) I will stay in New York until the crimes of Ali Saleh are transferred to the International Criminal Court and until they freeze all his assets."

"These regimes are a danger to international security."

The visit comes as UN diplomats told reporters that the five veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council had agreed on the major points to be raised in a draft resolution on Yemen.

The resolution which was proposed by Britain "stresses that all those responsible for violence, human rights violations and abuses should be held accountable", according to a copy obtained by Reuters.

See our earlier post: 'Pressure on Saleh increases' (Oct 2011)

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