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Saleh clings to power, unrest rises

Yemen's president, in hospital in Riyadh, will not cede power until he returns to oversee a transition, a Yemeni cabinet official said on Sunday, extending a period of political limbo.

world Updated: Jul 04, 2011 00:28 IST

Yemen's president, in hospital in Riyadh, will not cede power until he returns to oversee a transition, a Yemeni cabinet official said on Sunday, extending a period of political limbo.

The fractious Arabian Peninsula state has been paralysed by six-months of mass protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh's three-decade rule. After surviving an assassination attempt last month, Saleh went to Saudi Arabia for treatment. As Saleh clings to power and the political impasse drags on, the southern Abyan province has descended into violence with militants suspected of ties to al Qaeda seizing two cities.

"Saleh plans to support the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) deal and he asked the foreign minister to do everything to make the plan succeed," said the official, who asked not to be further identified. "But in order for the power to be transitioned, the president has to be in Yemen." He also said Saleh expected to manage the transition himself: "To have a proper election you would need six to eight months and during that period Saleh will still be president."

Analysts have said the suspected bomb planted in Saleh's mosque last month would prevent the 69-year-old leader from resuming power even though it did not kill him.