Saleh reportedly informed senior Yemeni officials, military commanders and tribal leaders Monday night of his intention to step down by the year’s end to prepare for a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen.
The announcement reflected a reversal of his earlier comments in which he had said he would remain in power until the end of his term in 2013.Yemeni opposition and religious figures have envisioned a roadmap for the Saleh’s departure before the end of this year.
President Saleh has been in office for more than three decades, with several opposition members arguing that his long-promised reforms have not materialized.Protests began to sweep Yemen in January. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in a brutal crackdown by state security forces.
There are concerns that intermittent skirmishes between anti-government demonstrators and forces loyal to embattled Ali Abdullah Saleh could eventually spiral out of control and trigger a large-scale violence.