Yemeni Official: President Saleh Scraps Plan to Visit US

Posted January 4th, 2012 at 1:40 pm (UTC-5)
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A Yemeni minister says President Ali Abdullah Saleh has scrapped a plan to travel to the United States after ruling party members urged the outgoing leader to remain in the country.

Deputy Information Minister Abdo al-Janadi said Wednesday some lawmakers want Mr. Saleh to stay to ensure the success of a Gulf-sponsored plan for the president's deputy to formally succeed him next month.

The Yemeni president agreed to the power transition in November after almost a year of pro-democracy protests demanding an end to his 33-year autocratic rule.

The plan calls for Mr. Saleh to transfer his authorities to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi ahead of a February presidential election in which Hadi is the consensus candidate of major parties.

The United States said it was considering giving Mr. Saleh a visa for medical treatment. The president was severely wounded in a bomb attack on his Sana'a compound last June and spent several months recuperating in Saudi Arabia.

Pro-democracy activists have continued staging anti-Saleh protesters in the capital Sana'a and elsewhere, complaining that the transition deal gives the president immunity from prosecution. They want Mr. Saleh and his powerful relatives to stand trial for a government crackdown on protests in which hundreds of people have been killed.