US urges Yemen's Pres. Saleh to step down

A top American official met Yemen's President Saleh in Saudi Arabia to urge him to hand over power quickly.

July 11, 2011 10:04
Yemen's President Saleh

Ali Abdullah Saleh 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

US President Barack Obama's top counterterrorism official met Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Saudi Arabia to urge him to hand over power quickly.

US envoy John Brennan brought a message from Obama to Saleh, who is recovering from serious injuries sustained in an attack on his presidential compound last month.

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The meeting was filmed by Yemen TV, showing Saleh sitting with gloves covering his hands and wearing slippers.

The United States until recently backed Saleh as a bulwark against regional instability and in particular against al Qaeda.

But now the US thinks Saleh should yield to a six-month-old popular uprising against his 33-year-rule.

The White House issued a statement saying that Brennan called on Saleh quickly to fulfill a pledge to sign a Gulf-brokered deal for a peaceful handover.

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