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Gun Battles Erupt in Yemeni Capital

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Gun battles broke out Monday between Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's security forces and members of a key tribe aligned with the opposition.

The clashes happened in the capital, Sana'a, near the house of tribal leader Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar. Al-Ahmar in March joined the opposition movement that is demanding Saleh's immediate resignation.

The clashes come amid international pressure on Saleh to provide a peaceful transition ending his more than three decades of autocratic rule.

A council of Arab states suspended its mediation efforts on Sunday after Saleh refused to sign a deal for him to leave office.

The Gulf Cooperation Council made the decision when Saleh backed out of the deal after Yemen's opposition signed the pact on Saturday with the understanding that the president would sign it on Sunday.

It was the third time the Yemeni leader has refused to sign the deal.

The agreement offered Saleh immunity from prosecution if he transfers power to a deputy within 30 days of signing.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the United States is "deeply disappointed" by Saleh's refusal to sign the deal. In a statement late Sunday, she also said Saleh is turning his back on his commitments and disregarding the aspirations of the Yemeni people.

In a speech Saturday, the president denounced the U.S.-backed proposal as a "coup" and warned that his departure could allow al-Qaida to take over parts of Yemen.

Article by VOA News