Sanaa: Increasing pressure on Yemen`s
embattled president, several members of his ruling Congress
Party resigned on Saturday as tens of thousands again took to the
streets to demand his ouster and Britain warned its citizens
against all travel to the impoverished Arab nation.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key US ally in fighting a
potent al Qaeda offshoot in his country, was refusing to budge
and rejected a proposal from a coalition of opposition groups
to end the political standoff by agreeing to step down by
The region-wide unrest hit Yemen just around the time
President Hosni Mubarak was stepping down in Egypt in early
February. Yemenis, the poorest people in the Arab world, had
similar complaints over government corruption, poverty and a
lack of political freedom.
Saleh, who has held on to power for 32 years despite
numerous threats to his rule, has failed to quell the
anti-government outpouring with a pledge not to run for
re-election in 2013. He also promised not to install his son
as a successor, as many suspected he was intent to do.
Nevertheless, in a sign that he still feels he has room
to maneuver, Saleh today rejected his opponents` suggestion
that he quit sooner.
A press statement from the president`s office said the
opposition`s "five-point plan is vague and ambiguous" and that
the president reiterated his pledge not to run again when his
current term expires in 2013.
"The constitution is a reference for all (of us) and any
attempt to violate it cannot be accepted," the statement said.