24 Sep 2011

Elections urged by White House

8:25 am on 24 September 2011

The White House has urged President Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen to arrange for presidential elections and a handover of power before the end of the year.

Mr Saleh, 69, unexpectedly returned to Yemen on Friday after three months in Saudi Arabia where he was treated for injuries received in an assassination attempt on 3 June.

He immediately called for a ceasefire between his supporters and opponents after five days of fierce fighting in the capital Sanaa.

Thousands of his supporters gathered in Sabiin Square to celebrate his return at the main weekly Muslim prayers.

The White House said the people of Yemen have suffered enough and deserve a path towards a better future.

Protests against the rule of Mr Saleh began in January. He has been in power since 1978.