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US Envoy Meets Yemeni VP to Press for Power Transfer

Yemen's Vice President Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi, left, pictured here with President Ali Abdullah Saleh during a gathering of Saleh's supporters in Yemen's capital Sana'a on March 10, 2011

U.S. counterterrorism chief John Brennan has met with Yemen's vice president in Sana'a, as part of a U.S. effort to press the Yemeni government to accept a swift transition to democratic rule.

Brennan held talks with Yemeni Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Monday, a day after meeting Yemen's wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh in a Saudi hospital.

Hadi has led the Yemeni government since a June 3 bomb attack on the presidential compound left Saleh severely burned and forced him to seek medical treatment in Riyadh. Saleh has faced five months of near daily opposition protests demanding an immediate end to his 33-year autocratic rule.

Hundreds of activists chanted anti-Saleh slogans Monday in a Sana'a square where protesters have been camped out for months as part of their campaign.

In Sunday's meeting, Brennan urged the Yemeni president to "expeditiously" sign a political transition plan drafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council. The plan calls on Saleh to hand power to a deputy in return for immunity from prosecution.

Yemen's state news agency Saba says Saleh told Brennan that any transfer of power must be carried out in a democratic framework and comply with the constitution. The Yemeni president also said he views the GCC plan as a basis for a national dialogue involving all political parties.

Brennan said the United States and its partners would send much needed aid to the impoverished nation "as soon as the GCC proposal is signed and implemented."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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