UPDATE 2-Heavy fighting in Yemen after U.N. resolution

At least 10 people were killed in clashes Saturday between Yemeni government forces and opposition fighters in the capital, Sanaa, residents and witnesses said.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni government said it was ready to “deal positively” with a resolution approved Friday by the U.N. Security Council that urged President Ali Abdullah Saleh to sign a deal requiring him to step down in exchange for immunity.

The measure also condemned the Yemeni government’s crackdown on protesters demanding that Saleh end his 33 years in office.

A spokesman for Yemeni opposition parties and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council, which has been trying to mediate an end to the crisis in Yemen, welcomed the resolution.

Residents said five civilians and five opposition soldiers were killed, and dozens of people were wounded in the latest clashes.

Rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and automatic weapons were used in the al-Hasaba, Soufan and al-Nahda neighborhoods in northern Sanaa, witnesses said, where tribal fighters and members of a breakaway military force opposed to Saleh are based.

Witnesses also said at least five people were killed in overnight clashes between forces loyal to Saleh and soldiers led by Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a general who broke ranks with Saleh after protests began in January. Gunmen loyal to tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar were also involved in the fighting.

Responding to the decision made by the U.N. Security Council, a Yemeni government source said Saturday that Sanaa remains committed to the gulf council’s peace plan and called for international help to ensure its implementation.

“The government of the Republic of Yemen is willing to deal positively with U.N. Security Council resolution 2014, for it conforms with the Yemeni government efforts to put an end to the political crisis on the basis of the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative,” a Yemeni government source said in a statement.

Saleh has backed down three times from signing the gulf initiative, which came after months of protests.

— Reuters

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