Gulf Arab States Close to Agreement to Remove Yemen President

April 20, 2011 Updated: April 21, 2011

The Gulf Arab states are closing in on a deal that would force Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, according to media reports Wednesday.

Reuters reported that the six-country Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) is close to finalizing a deal that would make Saleh hand over his powers to a national interim council of political and tribal leaders.

Under the proposal, the vice president would most likely inherit power and Saleh’s family would be immune from prosecution, reported Al Jazeera.

The United Nations, United States, and U.K. have expressed their support of the deal that would end Saleh’s 32-year rule.

On Tuesday, the U.N. tried to issue a statement calling on Yemen’s combatants to “exercise restraint and enter a dialogue,” but according to a report by VOA, China and Russia prevented the statement from being publicly endorsed.

The GCC, whose member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, has been working for weeks to broker this deal.

The United States among others have criticized Saleh for his heavy use of force in his attempts to quell mass unrest that sparked in Yemen following revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.