Gulf states intensified pressure on Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday, stressing they expect him to step down. Members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) "hope to reach a deal with the Yemeni president to step down," said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani.
On Wednesday, Saleh welcomed Gulf mediation, according to state news agency Saba, which said he "affirmed the necessity of a serious and fruitful dialogue to overcome the current crisis."
According to AFP, the exit plan offered to the Yemeni leader would see him hand power over to his deputy, while providing guarantees of protection to him and his family, the opposition said.
On Thursday, thousands of demonstrators maintained sit-ins in Sanaa and in Taez.