Yemenis celebrate as Saleh steps down

Published November 23rd, 2011 - 08:02 GMT
Yemen deal
Yemen deal

U.S. President Barack Obama stated Wednesday the United States welcomed the signing by Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh of an accord under which he immediately transferred power to the country's vice president. "This represents an important step forward for the Yemeni people, who deserve the opportunity to determine their own future," Obama said in a statement, cited by Reuters.

Saleh signed earlier a deal under which he will step down after 33 years in power and 10 months of protests against his rule.

Celebrations erupted in the capital Sanaa as Saleh inked the agreement in Saudi Arabia. Under the agreement, signed with opposition leaders Saleh will immediately transfer his powers to his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi. In return he will retain the title of president until a new head of state is elected.

"I declare the turning of a new page in the history of Yemen," Saudi King Abdullah said in a brief statement before the signing ceremony.

Hadi would form a new government with the opposition and call an early presidential election within three months.

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