France brands Yemen leader 'irresponsible'

23rd May 2011, Comments 0 comments

France on Monday branded Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh "irresponsible" for refusing to sign a deal to leave office in the face of protests, and warned of "consequences" if he continues to resist.

"This new U-turn is irresponsible and unacceptable," French foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero told reporters.

"By going back on his commitments, President Saleh bears responsibility for this failure and its consequences for the Yemeni people and the international community," he added.

"If President Saleh persists in refusing to respect his commitments, France is ready to take up all the consequences, with the European Union and its European partners," he said, without giving details of possible measures.

Saleh on Sunday warned against "civil war" when he refused to sign a transition plan brokered by impoverished Yemen's wealthy Gulf neighbours. It would have seen him step down after more than three decades in power in return for immunity from prosecution.

© 2011 AFP

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