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As Saleh Says He'll Step Back in Yemen, Ban Says Immunity "Not Discussed in Detail"

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 23, updated -- Hours after Yemen strongman Ali Saleh announced a deal to step back from power in exchange for immunity, at the UN in New York Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summoned wire reporters to the stakeout in front of the Security Council.

Ban told the press that he had spoken with Saleh, who told him he will go to Saudi Arabia today to sign the deal, then come to New York for medical treatment. "I'll be happy to meet him," Ban said. He added that Saleh "he will still remain as president" but step back.

  Inner City Press asked Ban if he had discussed with Saleh the issue of immunity, which was explicitly granted in the Gulf Cooperation Council deal that Saleh has repeatedly indicated he would agree to.

No, Ban said, "I have not discussed in detail on that matter." Some wonder: how could Ban not raise the issue?

From the UN's transcript:

Inner City Press: What about the immunity provisions of the GCC deal? Was this discussed at all?

SG: I have not discussed in detail on that matter, but there has been agreement among GCC members which was endorsed and supported by the UN Security Council resolution. I hope that all this should be the basis of furthering the process in Yemen.

(c) UN Photo
Ban & Saleh previously, Thanksgiving for immunity not yet shown

  Last Friday when Saudi Arabia Permanent Representative spoke to the media outside the General Assembly, Inner City Press asked him about the immunity provisions of the GCC deal Saudi Arabia was central to. He said that the deal belongs to the Yemeni people.

  Close observers say that the US State Department was even more centrally involved in the GCC deal. So what will the US say?

  In front of the Security Council Wednesday morning, Inner City Press asked this month's Council president Cabral about any meetings about Yemen.

  He said he had spoken with Ban's envoy in Yemen over the weekend, and agreed that the Council will meet this coming Monday, November 28, after the US Thanksgiving holiday. Ali Saleh has a lot to be thankful for. Watch this site.

Update of 10:50 am -- UK Permanent Representative Mark Lyall Grant told Inner City Press that the Council will be briefed about Yemen on Monday, whether or not Saleh goes and signs the deal. He asked, has that happened?

Update of 11:48 am -- Saleh signed, on television. But another P5 Security Council member's Permanent Representative mused, "some say he has to leave in 30 days, some say in 90 days, I don't know."

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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