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Report: Yemen president to step down

WASHINGTON — The president of Yemen has agreed to a deal in which he will step down in exchange for immunity, according to a report Saturday.

Ali Abdullah Saleh will step down within 30 days of signing the deal in exchange for immunity for himself and close relatives in a deal brokered by neighboring countries, according to a report in the online edition of The Wall Street Journal, which cites an unnamed presidential aide.

Previously, Saleh had said he would stay until his term ends in 2013, according to the report.

There have been protests since January against Saleh, who has been ruling for 32 years, according to the report.

Student protestors, seen as important constituents by parties opposing Saleh, have said that the president should not have immunity, according to the report, which noted that there is concern that the political situation has damaged efforts against al-Qaida in Yemen.


Elsewhere, the U.S. said its first Predator drone strike in Libya occurred in the early afternoon local time. A Department of Defense spokesman declined to provide any details, citing common practice.

Separately, on Friday a White House spokesman reiterated concerns about the violence in Syria.

"We are monitoring it very closely; call on the Syrian government to cease and desist from the use of violence against peaceful protestors; call on all sides to cease and desist from the use of violence; and also call on the Syrian government to follow through on its promises and take action towards the kind of concrete reform that they promised," Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters Friday.

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