Yemen recalls ambassador to Qatar

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh lashes out at Qatar because its prime minister suggested a plan in which he would hand over power.

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SANA'A // Yemen recalled its ambassador to Qatar yesterday following remarks from Qatar's prime minister suggesting a plan for the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al Thani said on Thursday that members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) "hope to reach a deal with the Yemeni president to step down".

Mr Saleh, in turn, lashed out at Qatar and accused it of interfering in Yemen.

"Our power comes from the power of our great people, not from Qatar, not from anyone else. This is blatant interference in Yemeni affairs," Mr Saleh told a huge crowd of supporters in Sana'a on Friday.

Under the GCC exit plan, according to opposition sources, Mr Saleh would hand power over to his deputy in return for guarantees of protection for him and his family. The US welcomed on Friday the GCC's initiative, saying it was encouraging "urgently needed dialogue".

Violence returned to the southern city of Taiz yesterday afternoon as police fired live and rubber bullets on thousands of protesters, wounding more than ten, according to medics. On Friday, four protesters were killed and up to 400 were wounded in clashes between protesters and security forces.

In Sana'a, tens of thousands marched yesterday to protest the violence in Taiz and demand the immediate resignation of Mr Saleh. Police used live fire and tear gas to disperse protesters, with no reported casualties.

In the city of Thamar, six university students were wounded yesterday when government dispersed their protest them. In response to the treatment of students, the teaching staff of Thamar University walked out.

More than 120 people have been killed since the start of protests against Mr Saleh on February 11.