West Urges Saleh to Step Down
US, Britain offer guarantees of money, no prosecution
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2011 2:00 AM CDT
Updated Jun 6, 2011 2:41 AM CDT
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh at a May 20 rally in Sanaa. The US and Britain are pressuring Saleh to step down as president.   (AP Photo/Hani Mohammed)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – US and British officials are urging Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down, offering him guarantees of money and protection from prosecution, reports the Guardian. A Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council had tried to convince Saleh to step aside and agree to elections, but the president refused. However, now that Saleh has left Yemen for medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after being injured in a rebel rocket attack, Saudi pressure on Saleh is building. "Saleh may be determined to brazen it out, but he will find it hard to resist for very long," said one Western diplomat.

Although Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi now appears to be nominally in charge of Yemen, analysts believe the country is really being led by Saleh's son Ahmen and two nephews who control key military and security forces. Hadi does not have the military support or political weight to last long. "He is irrelevant, a token southerner," said one Western expert on Yemen. "He is in charge according to the constitution but not in reality."