Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh announced Saturday in a televised speech he will step down “in the coming days”.
But Saleh has made the same speech more than once before in the past year during protests that have rocked Yemen.
“I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will leave power in the coming days,” Saleh told the nation in a speech on state television.
The Yemeni president made a similar address about two weeks ago following his return to the country from Saudi Arabia, where he was treated for wounds sustained during an “Arab Spring” attack on Saleh's compound that nearly killed him and a number of other top government officials who were with him at the time.
Despite Saleh's vows to leave power, a Yemeni government spokesman told reporters following the speech the president's departure is “not necessarily imminent.”
The president's remarks were seen as another move to ease pressure ahead of a briefing at the United Nations Security Council by Yemeni envoy Jamal Banomar, who left Sana'a empty-handed after days of shuttle diplomacy between the opposition and the ruling party.
Saleh has said he is fighting a takeover not only by tribal rebels but also by Al Qaeda-lined forces. At least 1,480 have been killed in Yemen since the start of the “Arab Spring” anti-goverment uprisings there in February, including security officials and civilians.