Yemen opposition: Gulf mediation over
SANAA - Attempts by Gulf monarchies to mediate in Yemen's crisis are "over," opposition spokesman Mohammed Qahtan said Tuesday after President Ali Abdullah Saleh repeatedly refused to sign a deal that would see him hand over power within 30 days.
"This agreement is terminated," Qahtan said 10 days after Saleh refused to sign the agreement proposed by the Gulf monarchies, despite it having being signed by his own party and the opposition.
The United Arab Emirates, which holds the rotating Gulf Cooperation Council presidency, made known the termination of the group's mediation efforts in a letter to the UAE's ambassador to Sanaa, the spokesman added.
Meanwhile, the United States on Tuesday condemned "indiscriminate attacks" by Yemen forces following attacks on anti-government protesters.
"We condemn those indiscriminate attacks by the Yemeni security forces," State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters, referring in particular to violence in the second-largest city of Taez.
Saleh regime forces shot dead seven anti-government demonstrators in Taez on Tuesday, witnesses said, after 21 people were killed as a four-month sit-in in a central square was smashed.
Five people were killed in central Taez, witnesses said. Others clashed with police while trying to enter the city, leaving two protesters dead.
Witnesses said security forces were trying to prevent anyone from gathering in Taez, and were firing at those who tried to do so.
The UN human rights office put the death toll in the city since Sunday at more than 50, with hundreds more injured.
"The UN human rights office has received reports... that more than 50 people have been killed since Sunday in Taez" by security forces, it said in a statement from Geneva.
"Such reprehensible acts of violence and indiscriminate attacks on unarmed civilians by armed security officers must stop immediately," said UN human rights chief Navi Pillay.
EU foreign policy chief Ashton said: "I am shocked and condemn in the strongest terms the use of force and live ammunition against peaceful protesters in the city of Taez."