Another day of intense political drama in Yemen has left a deal to ease the country’s president out of power in tatters.
President Ali Abdullah’s supporters besieged an embassy where Gulf state diplomats were staying. They had been expecting Saleh to sign an agreement giving him a dignified exit as leader after 33 years at the helm.
Although five members of the ruling party did put their names to the document, Saleh at the last minute refused, demanding additional conditions.
He then blamed the opposition for the collapse of the deal, warning of a violent security vacuum if he is forced out.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh made a televised address: “They are dragging us into civil war,” he said, “the opposition will have to take responsibility for the blood which will be spilled because of their stupidity.”
Eventually the Gulf state diplomats had to be air lifted from the embassy.
Despite trying to formulate a deal in the wake of Saleh’s violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, they have now announced they are suspending their initiative.