Yemen's President, in hospital in Riyadh, will not cede power until he returns to oversee a transition, a Yemeni cabinet official said.
Yemen has been paralyzed 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 descended into violence with militants suspected of ties to Al Qaeda seizing two cities.
The cabinet official visiting the President told Reuters Saleh planned to support a Gulf Arab transition plan that has already collapsed three times when the President backed out of signing at the last minute.
“Saleh plans to support the Gulf Co-operation Council deal and asked the Foreign Minister to do everything to make the plan succeed,” said the official, who asked not to be 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 6-8 months and during that period Saleh will still be President.”
Opposition groups and the hundreds of thousands protesting across Yemen want an immediate change in government, which Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has run in Saleh’s absence.
With political talks at a standstill, Yemen is planning to step up military action, hoping to retake areas lost to Islamist militants and armed tribesmen amid rising unrest in the Arab world’s poorest country.
The Defense Ministry has placed a security belt around the southern port city of Aden, which sits near the entry to a shipping lane that channels some 3 million barrels of oil daily.
In Sana’a, Acting President Hadi said Yemen would repair pipelines in the oil-producing Maarib Province. Tribesmen blew up an empty line last week, after shutting down the main pipeline in an attack in March.
The Defense Ministry said it would send troops to chase down the “terrorist elements” behind the attacks, which halted Yemen’s 110,000 barrel-per-day output.
Source: Reuters; Gulf Times