US dismay as Saleh delays Yemeni election

The US has expressed regret at the Yemeni President's failure to comply with an agreement to leave the country and allow elections for a successor.

The Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, weighed in after Yemen's Foreign Minister suggested that next month's presidential vote could be delayed because of security concerns.

A top ruling party official also said President Ali Abdullah Saleh met security officials this week and decided to ask parliament to delay the polls until May. The move would violate the US-backed agreement the President signed in November after facing a popular uprising against his rule.

"There have been agreements with respect to the way forward that have not been fulfilled," Ms Clinton said during a trip to Ivory Coast. "We regret that the President has thus far failed to comply with his own commitments to leave the country, to permit elections to go forward that give the people a chance to be heard and be represented."

Despite agreeing to a plan to transfer power, Mr Saleh may be having difficulties finding a country to take refuge in and a delayed vote is likely to fan fears that he may attempt to extend his rein of 33 years.