The Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has arrived in Saudi Arabia to sign a power transfer initiative agreed by the six-member Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), Yemeni state TV has reported. "The president of the republic arrives safely to the airport of Riyadh to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia following an invitation from the Saudi leadership to attend the signing of the Gulf initiative," a ticker running on the bottom of Yemen TV said. On Monday, Yemen's opposition said it had finalised a deal under which Saleh, who has ruled the impoverished country for 33 years, is to transfer his powers to his deputy. Saleh has backed down from signing the initiative on three occasions. Yemen has been paralysed by months of protests that have weakened the government's control on the country and allowed Islamist militants to take hold of swathes of territory in the south.