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Yemeni leader says he'll step down by year's end

 A Yemeni army officer reacts holding up his AK-47 as he and other officers join anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni Presid...
 Yemeni army officers react as they join anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen, ...
 An elderly anti-government protestor carried by other demonstrators flashes the victory sign during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yeme...
 A Yemeni army officer reacts holding up his AK-47 as he and other officers join anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni Presid...
 An anti-government protestor shouts slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh,  in Sanaa,Yemen,...
 An anti-government protestor salutes army soldiers who joined them during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah ...
 A female anti-government protestor and her daughter shelter under an umbrella to avoid the sun during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Ye...
 A Yemeni girl stands between female anti-government demonstrators attending noon prayers during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni P...
 Female anti-government protestors shelter from the sun during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sa...
 Anti-government protestors shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh,  in Sanaa,Yemen, Tu...
 Anti-government protestors shout slogans and raise banners during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, i...
 Yemeni army soldiers stand guard to protect anti-government protestors, not seen, attending a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni Presi...
 Anti-government protestors gesture during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday,...
 Anti-government protestors shout slogans and wave their national flag during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdull...

APTOPIX Mideast Yemen

A Yemeni army officer reacts holding up his AK-47 as he and other officers join anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni Presid...

APTOPIX Mideast Yemen

Yemeni army officers react as they join anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen, ...

Mideast Yemen

An elderly anti-government protestor carried by other demonstrators flashes the victory sign during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yeme...

Mideast Yemen

A Yemeni army officer reacts holding up his AK-47 as he and other officers join anti-government protestors demanding the resignation of Yemeni Presid...

Mideast Yemen

An anti-government protestor shouts slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen,...

Mideast Yemen

An anti-government protestor salutes army soldiers who joined them during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah ...

Mideast Yemen

A female anti-government protestor and her daughter shelter under an umbrella to avoid the sun during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Ye...

Mideast Yemen

A Yemeni girl stands between female anti-government demonstrators attending noon prayers during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni P...

APTOPIX Mideast Yemen

Female anti-government protestors shelter from the sun during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sa...

Mideast Yemen

Anti-government protestors shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa,Yemen, Tu...

Mideast Yemen

Anti-government protestors shout slogans and raise banners during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, i...

Mideast Yemen

Yemeni army soldiers stand guard to protect anti-government protestors, not seen, attending a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni Presi...

Mideast Yemen

Anti-government protestors gesture during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sanaa, Yemen, Tuesday,...

Mideast Yemen

Anti-government protestors shout slogans and wave their national flag during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdull...

Yemen's embattled U.S.-backed president pledged to step down by year's end but vowed not to hand power to military commanders who have joined the opposition in defections that he branded as an attempted coup, a spokesman said Tuesday.
There was no immediate response from the opposition, which has won the loyalty of influential clergy and tribal leaders, along with the powerful army commanders now calling for the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Saleh had rejected an earlier opposition demand that he resign by the end of the year.
Presidential spokesman Ahmed al-Sufi told The Associated Press that Saleh met with senior Yemeni officials, military commanders and tribal leaders Monday nigh and vowed not to hand power to the military. He said the Monday defection of military commanders including longtime confidante Maj. Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar was a "mutiny and a coup against constitutional legitimacy" .
"I don't wish and will not accept the transfer of power to the military," al-Sufi quoted Saleh as saying. "The military institution remains united. The era of coups is gone."
Al-Ahmar, commander of the army's powerful 1st Armored Division, deployed tanks and armored vehicles at the Defense Ministry, the TV building, the Central Bank and a central Sanaa square that has become the epicenter of the monthlong, anti-Saleh protests.
In response, the Republican Guards, an elite force led by one of Sale's sons, deployed troops backed by armor outside the presidential palace on the capital's southern outskirts.
The rival deployments created a potentially explosive situation at the city as news of a flurry of protest resignations by army commanders, ambassadors, lawmakers and provincial governors stepped up pressure on Saleh, Yemen's leader of 32 years, to step down.
Al-Ahmar's defection was seen by many as a turning point.
Speaking in Paris on Monday, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe called Saleh's resignation "unavoidable" and pledged "support to all those that fight for democracy."
Calling Al-Ahmar's defection "a turning point," Edmund J. Hull, U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 2001 to 2004, said it showed "the military overall ... no longer ties its fate to that of the president."
"I'd say he's going sooner rather than later," Hull said.
In a sign of the Obama administration's growing alarm over the regime's crackdown on demonstrators, State Department spokesman Mark Toner called on the Yemeni leader to refrain from violence.
"We abhor the violence. We want a cessation of all violence against demonstrators," Toner said, calling on Saleh to "take the necessary steps to promote a meaningful dialogue that addresses the concerns of his people."
The 65-year-old president and his government have faced down many serious challenges in the past, often forging fragile alliances with restive tribes to extend power beyond the capital. Most recently, he has battled a seven-year armed rebellion in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and an al-Qaida offshoot that is of great concern to the U.S.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, formed in 2009, has moved beyond regional aims and attacked the West, including sending a suicide bomber who tried to down a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day with a bomb sewn into his underwear. The device failed to detonate properly.
Yemen is also home to U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is believed to have offered inspiration to those attacking the U.S., including Army Maj. Nidal Hasan, who is accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens in a 2009 shootout at Fort Hood, Texas.


Updated : 2020-12-03 06:08 GMT+08:00