Progress seen in talks on power transfer in Yemen

November 20, 2011 17:26


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SANAA - Diplomatic efforts to end months of protests demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down have made some headway, an opposition official said on Sunday, with differences narrowed down to who controls the army during a transitional period.

Progress towards a deal came a day after hundreds of troops from the Republican Guards, an elite force led by Saleh's son Ahmed, defected to join protesters camping out in central Sanaa since February to demand an end to the leader's 33-year rule.

An opposition leader said talks with government representatives, mediated by UN envoy Jamal Benomar, moved closer to an agreement on a Gulf Arab plan to ease Saleh from power. It would transfer power to his deputy, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, before an early presidential election.

"There is progress in the negotiations," the leader in a coalition of opposition parties told Reuters. He declined to be identified.

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