A nephew of Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh who commands a key paramilitary unit has called for talks to end the country's six month political stand-off but, threatened to ‘break the necks' of any faction that seeks again to remove his uncle by force.
Brigadier General Yehia Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, an important power broker as head of the Central Security Forces, also said Yemen would not slide anew into the open warfare seen in May after months of street protests aimed at toppling the president.
Saleh is recuperating in Saudi Arabia from wounds suffered in an assassination attempt during battles with tribal factions that leveled parts of the capital Sana'a.
Yemeni government official saids on Wednesday said Saleh would reconsider a plan brokered by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council for him to hand over power. He has backed out of it three times, raising fears of a downward spiral into anarchy beneficial to Al Qaeda militants entrenched in the Arabian Peninsula state.
"There is no solution other than dialogue to put an end to this crisis," Brigadier General Saleh said.
In an apparent reference to the forces of Sadeq Al Ahmar, a leader of one part of the powerful Al Hashed tribal confederation, and General Ali Mohsen, a longtime ally who turned on the president, General Saleh played down the risk of more fighting.
"Some forces are pushing for confrontations. I reassure the Yemenis that this will not happen," he said. "The concerns about a civil war in Yemen are false, God willing," he told Reuters. "But if they resort to arms or force, they know we will break their necks. And we will break the neck of anyone who tries to damage or harm the security and stability of the nation."
The president, who emerged on Sunday from the Riyadh hospital where he was treated for severe burns and other injuries sustained in a June assassination attempt, has been strongly advised not to return to Yemen, as he has vowed to do.
Yemeni government officials said on Wednesday Saleh had met senior loyalists, including the prime minister wounded in the same attack, to discuss the power transfer deal he has aborted repeatedly.