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Arab Spring: US Finally Pushing Saleh to Step Down

After months of murky policy in Yemen the US has finally made a direct appeal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 7/11/2011, 7:41 PM / Last Update: 7/11/2011, 11:02 PM

White House Press Office

White House counter terrorism czar John Brennan is visiting Yemen to push for a swift transfer power, Gulf News reports.

The move comes after months of bloody protests and crackdowns calling for President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster and a rising Al Qaeda threat in the country that runs counter to the US push to dismantle the organization.

Brennan is expected to meet Monday with Vice-President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in a bid to revive a power transfer deal proposed previously brokered by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Saleh, a tenacious political survivor, had agreed to the GCC deal, but subsequently performed an about-face turn and reneged.

Hadi has headed the government since Saleh was seriously wounded in a June 3 attack on his palace compound.

Saleh, who has held power for more than three decades, is in Saudi Arabia for treatment of his wounds.

Saleh made a television address from Saudi Arabia late Thursday calling for renewed talks with opposition leaders, who he chastised for having what he called an “incorrect understanding of democracy.”

Critics say Saleh has used talks to play for time and has consistently moved the goal posts - and sought undue influence and extended time in office during proposed transfer arrangements.

Brennan met Sunday with Saleh and asked him to "expeditiously" agree to the transition because of the growing instability and Al Qaeda threat.

Observers note the Obama administrator's stance in Yemen has been murky due to concerns that a new Yemeni government may not cooperate with its war on Al Qaeda in Yemen the way Saleh's has.