9 Oct 2011

Yemen president again pledges to step down

2:15 pm on 9 October 2011

Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh says he will step down in the coming days but has not given a precise date for doing so.

Mr Saleh has for months resisted mass protests demanding his resignation and an insurrection by renegade army units.

In a televised speech on Saturday he said: "I reject power and I will continue to reject it, and I will be leaving power in the coming days."

Mr Saleh returned to Yemen unexpectedly last month from Saudi Arabia where he had been receiving treatment after his office was shelled in June.

The president has several times appeared to be ready to resign but pulled out of deals to stand down at the last moment.

Mr Saleh has also repeatedly refused to sign a transition deal brokered by Gulf states, and first presented in March, whereby he would hand over power to his vice-president in return for immunity from prosecution.