The Muslim uprising juggernaut has added Yemen to its list of successful revolutions as Yemini president Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed on Saturday to quit in 30 days. However, many rebel leaders demand he step down within a week.
Three months of demonstrations finally overcame Saleh, whose announcement of an intended resignation followed a proposal by Gulf Arab mediators.
Saleh has ruled the country, a major base for Al-Qaeda, for 32 years. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have demonstrated against his autocratic rule since earlier this year, when the Muslim uprisings began in Tunisia and rolled through Egypt, Bahrain and now Syria.
The United States, which considers Yemen a close ally in its war against Al-Qaeda, backed the president’s resignation following the killing of more than 100 protesters the past several weeks.
The White House called for Yemeni parties "to move swiftly to implement" a transfer of power from Saleh, who was promised to be protected from prosecution after he quits.
The State Department commented, "We will not speculate about the choices the Yemeni people will make or the results of their political dialogue. It is ultimately for the people of Yemen to decide how their country is governed."
Saleh’s intended departure does not guarantee a return to quiet because opponents, like those in Egypt two months ago, do not trust his intentions. Opposition spokesman Mohammed Khatan said, "We would have to swear an oath to Saleh, who has already lost his legitimacy.”
Another rebel spokesman wants Saleh to be charged for the murder of protesters and for alleged corruption.