Yemen president Saleh heads to US

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh is on his way to the United States, British authorities said Saturday, according to CNN.

A British Foreign Office spokesman said Saleh's plane refueled in the United Kingdom, adding that it would be "helpful" for the Yemeni leader to be out of his country before elections, Agence France Presse reported:

"At a time of continuing unrest in Yemen and the threat of escalating violence, we see it as helpful for President Saleh to be out of the country in the run up to interim presidential elections in February."

Saleh signed a deal in November to handover power after months of deadly protests in Yemen. This trip marks the latest phase of political developments in the situation. 

The Yemeni Embassy in Washington said the purpose of Saleh's trip is a "private medical visit" and comes as Saleh is expected to step down from power next month.

He was wounded in a June bomb attack on his presidential palace.

More from GlobalPost: Saleh departs for US

But opponents say Saleh has not fully cooperated in a power handover and the US has been pressuring him to leave soon, the Guardian reported.

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