Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh has admitted that the United States intelligence apparatus is closely monitoring the situation in the country.
“I believe that the American intelligence is following this up and keeping a close eye on it and that they know exactly what is going on,” Saleh said on Thursday in an interview with Time magazine, referring to the developments inside the country.
He said Washington was investigating a June attack on the presidential palace that inflicted serious injury on him as well as other Yemeni officials.
Saleh also alleged that “American intelligence has knowledge that [the al-Qaeda terrorist group] is in contact with both the [Yemeni opposition] Muslim Brotherhood and the military officers who are outlaws,” referring to defecting military officials.
He asserted that he would not sign an agreement proposed by the regional Arab alliance of the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC), which has been drawn up as a means of diffusing the political crisis in the country.
The plan grants Saleh immunity from prosecution on the condition that he steps down within 30 days of signing the deal. The opposition would then be tasked with forming a national unity government with his ruling General People's Congress party.
He, however, warned that such a deal would lead Yemen toward civil war.
Saleh has already been in office for more than 30 years with several opposition members arguing that his long-promised reforms have not been implemented.
Hundreds of thousands of people have turned out for regular protest rallies in Yemen's major cities since late January, calling for an end to corruption and unemployment, while demanding the ouster of Saleh's regime. A regime-ordered crackdown against the demonstrations has so far killed hundreds of people among the outraged public.