Thursday, May 19, 2011

Assad target of US sanctions; Yemen's Saleh again refuses to sign deal

IA - U.S imposes sanctions on Assad  
The United States has imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for human rights abuses. The US and EU had already imposed sanctions on other senior figures close to Assad, i.e. his brother Maher, his cousin and an intelligence chief, but this time also Assad himself has been targeted specifically by the international community for his government's crackdown on protesters.
The order signed by president Obama punishes Mr Assad and six senior Syrian officials for human rights abuses
The others named are:  Vice-President Farouk al-Sharaa, Prime Minister Adel Safar, Interior Minister Mohammed al-Shaar, Defence Minister Ali Habib, Abdul Fatah Qudsiya, the head of Military intelligence and Mohammed Dib Zaitoun, the head of the Political Security Directorate. The new measures freeze any assets they have in US jurisdiction and make it illegal for Americans to do business with them.
Syria condemned the sanctions, which it said were part of a US effort to impose its policies in the region.

YEMEN - Saleh again refuses to sign transition of power deal 
Last-minute diplomatic wrangling has derailed a deal on a transition of power in Yemen despite growing U.S. pressure on President Ali Abdullah Saleh to agree to the Gulf-brokered plan and relinquish power.
The deal had been expected to be signed on Wednesday. It would have granted Saleh immunity from prosecution and allowed him a dignified exit from power. But the agreement broke down after a dispute over who would sign for the opposition, and the leader of a bloc of Yemen's wealthy oil-exporting Gulf neighbors left Sanaa without securing a deal on Wednesday. Sources close to the talks have told Reuters that Saleh wanted the rotating head of the coalition, Yassin Noman, a leftist, to sign the deal. The opposition preferred Mohammed Basindwa, tipped as a possible interim prime minister.The opposition agreed to have Noman as the first opposition signatory, but also wanted Basindwa to be on a list of signatories. Saleh refused and the deal fell through, the sources said. Political analysts doubt whether the deal will actually be carried out after two previous near-deals also fell through at the last minute.

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