SANAA - President Ali Abdullah Saleh and tribal leaders must agree to a broad ceasefire immediately to prevent wider conflict that would plunge Yemen into civil war, an influential think-tank said in a conflict risk alert.
Fighting this week has killed some 115 people, prompted thousands of residents to flee Sanaa and raised the specter of chaos that could benefit the Yemen-based branch of al- Qaida and threaten adjacent Saudi Arabia, the world's No. 1 oil exporter.
"To prevent further escalation and loss of life, the most urgent step is for both sides to immediately accept a ceasefire mediated by Yemen's statesmen and tribal leaders," the International Crisis Group (ICG) said in a conflict risk alert issued late on Friday.
The latest fighting, pitting Saleh's security forces against members of the powerful Hashed tribe led by Sadeq al-Ahmar, was the bloodiest since pro-democracy unrest erupted in January and was sparked by a Saleh refusal to sign a power transfer deal.