Gates says US had no plans for a post-Saleh Yemen

The Associated Press
Wednesday, March 23, 2011; 3:18 PM

CAIRO -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the U.S. has not formulated its approach to Yemen if or when embattled leader Ali Abdullah Saleh leaves office.

The clash between Saleh and protesters in Yemen escalated Wednesday handing another dilemma to the Obama administration, which has supported Saleh but has also backed popular uprisings in other countries.

In Cairo for meetings, Gates says that while things are unsettled in Yemen, it's too soon to predict an outcome. He says the U.S. has had a good relationship with Saleh, who has been an important counterterrorism ally. Gates says that the U.S. will continue to watch the situation.

Saleh's offer to step down by the end of the year was rejected by the opposition.

© 2011 The Associated Press