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Report: US no longer backs Yemeni president

Arab World Materials 4 April 2011 09:43
The United States has begun privately advocating for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office, the New York Times reported Monday, outlining a shift in policy of Washington toward the longtime US ally, dpa reported.
Report: US no longer backs Yemeni president

The United States has begun privately advocating for Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to leave office, the New York Times reported Monday, outlining a shift in policy of Washington toward the longtime US ally, dpa reported.

Unnamed sources in the US and Yemeni governments told the newspaper that President Barack Obama's administration now believes Saleh cannot institute reforms and that his hold on power is tenuous.

US officials have not publicly criticized the Yemeni leader, who has been seen as a key ally in US efforts to fight terrorism even as protests demanding his ouster turned violent. But they have begun pushing behind the scenes for a transitional government in the country at the tip of the Arabian peninsula, the newspaper said.

Over the weekend, the Yemeni opposition parties sought to end the unrest with a plan under which Saleh would step down and his powers be transferred to the vice president. But Saleh Sunday demanded an end to weeks of sit-ins and said he would not be forced out.

Security forces have repeatedly attacked protesters calling for Saleh's ouster, with at least 52 dead and hundreds injured so far. Demonstrations began in Yemen in February, following popular uprisings against long-time rulers in Tunisia and Egypt.

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