Sanaa: Gulf mediators were awaiting a ‘signal’ from beleaguered Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to revive plan to stop political turmoil in the country, an opposition spokesman said.  

“Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) was expected in Sanaa on Monday, but unfortunately he did not come,” the spokesman said.

“He awaited a signal that did not materialize.”

Political violence in the past three months has claimed 150 lives in the poorest Arab country.

The GCC chief met with foreign ministers of the six-member GCC on Sunday after returning empty handed from Sanaa following Saleh’s refusal to sign the text of their agreement to end the crisis.

The plan proposes the formation of a government of national unity in Sanaa, Saleh transferring power to his vice president and an end to the deadly protests rocking the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation since late January.

The President would submit his resignation to Parliament within 30 days, to be followed two months later by a presidential election.

However, a defiant Saleh, who has been in power for 32 years, has publicly insisted on sticking to the constitution in any transfer of power, even though his ruling General People’s Congress party has said it accepts the GCC plan.

The weekly Al-Mithaq, an organ of Saleh’s General People’s Congress, said the opposition Common Forum should stop sit-in protests, end defections in the army and ensure an end to all violence. The GCC plan had envisaged a peaceful transition.

“A peaceful transition of power does not mean that power will fall to the opposition. Then it would amount to a coup,” Abdallah Ghanem, spokesman for the ruling party said.

The opposition disputes the position taken by the ruling party after agreeing to abide by the Gulf initiative.

“The plan of the GCC does not ban sit-ins and demonstrations,” said chief opposition negotiator, Mohamed Salem Basandoua, while addressing protesters camped at the main square in Sanaa.

“In accepting this plan, the opposition has put the government in to difficulty,” said Basandoua.