Sanaa: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Yemen on Friday demanding the resignation of the President, a day after the US State Department said it hoped a power transfer deal could be signed within a week.
President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been hanging on to his post despite local, regional and international pressure to leave office.
Saleh has come close to signing the Gulf Cooperation Council`s power transfer proposal several times, only to back out at the last minute. It offers him and his family immunity from prosecution over the deaths of protesters in exchange for
Saleh has been in Saudi Arabia since early June, when he was seriously wounded in an attack on his compound in Sanaa. A Saudi official today said he will not return to Yemen.
While that could be an indication that he will agree to leave office, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to release the information, said that in his conversations with Saleh, the President expressed discontent with the Gulf Cooperation Council`s proposed deal.
Saleh, according to the official, felt that Saudi Arabia cheated him by backing the accord following pressure from the United States.
The official said he met Saleh at the palace where he is residing in Riyadh and that the president was with a number of his children. He said the luxurious palace offered to Saleh by Saudi leaders is meant to show the extent to which they want him to remain in the kingdom.
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the capital Sanaa and other major cities, including the southern city of Taiz, to demand Saleh`s resignation. A day earlier in Taiz, government forces opened fire on demonstrators, killing one
and wounding 10 others, a medical official said.