Yemen official says Saleh will not travel to US

January 4, 2012 16:18

SANAA - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not travel to the United States, a senior aide said on Wednesday, reversing a pledge by the leader who has withstood nearly a year of protests and military challenges from rivals seeking to topple him.

Saleh announced he would visit the United States last month, hours after forces loyal to him killed protesters demanding he face trial for killings during an uprising aimed at ending his 33-year rule.

He would enjoy immunity from prosecution under a deal crafted by his wealthier neighbors and backed by Washington - which long backed Saleh as a pillar of its "counter-terrorism" strategy - aimed at averting civil war by easing him from power.

The United States has said it is considering giving Saleh a visa for medical treatment, a decision critics of the US administration's Yemen policy have said lends the impression that Washington is sheltering Saleh.

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