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Opposition Rejects Saleh Offer, AL Condemns Yemeni ‘Crimes’

A coalition of opposition groups in Yemen has dismissed President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s proposal of quitting power after organizing parliamentary elections by January 2012 as the Arab League condemned Yemen’s “crimes against civilians”.

“The opposition rejects the offer as the coming hours will be decisive,” Reuters quoted Mohammed al-Sabry, spokesman for the main umbrella opposition group, as saying on Tuesday.

Arab League representatives meeting in Cairo on Tuesday urged the Sanaa government to deal with the people’s demands in a “peaceful manner.”

The Arab League “strongly condemns the crimes committed against civilians, and calls for concerted efforts to safeguard national unity and the right to free expression,” they said in a statement. They also called for “dialogue and democratic methods to deal with the demands of the Yemeni people in a peaceful manner.”

Saleh had previously vowed not to run for presidency after his current term finishes in 2013. He had once promised to leave office in 2005 and broken it, providing reasons not to be trusted.

As pressure is mounting on Saleh, the opposition groups have given him a 48-hour ultimatum to step down.

On Tuesday, the president warned against “coups,” saying defiance from military officers will push the country to a “bloody” civil war.

Saleh has suffered another setback as more high-ranking army generals, ambassadors and tribe chiefs have supported anti-government protesters.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s most powerful tribal confederation, which includes Saleh’s tribe, has reportedly called on the president to meet people’s demands and step down peacefully.

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