SANAA - Ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh is interfering in the Arabian Peninsula state's transition process but Western countries are still reluctant to cut him off completely, a Yemeni government minister said on Saturday.

Yemen's Gulf neighbours led by Saudi Arabia sponsored a US-backed deal that allowed Saleh to leave office in February after a year of fighting to suppress an uprising that left over 2,000 people dead.

The deal gave Saleh and his relatives immunity from prosecution, but recent statements and violence linked to military and security units under the control of family members have raised concerns over the fate of the transition process. Saleh's successor Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi earlier this month replaced security officials in an apparent move to reduce the influence of the veteran former president.

Restoring stability to Yemen has become an international priority due to fears that al-Qaida and other Islamist militants could become entrenched in a country which neighbors oil producer Saudi Arabia and lies on major shipping lanes.

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