Yemen's president has laid down new conditions for signing a power transition deal, thwarting Gulf efforts to bring an end to a months-old political crisis in the country.
A Gulf mediator left Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, on Sunday, having failed to secure Ali Abdullah Saleh's signature on the deal, according to a report on the AFP news agency
European, US and Arab ambassadors, who were pressing Saleh to sign the accord, were trapped for hours on Sunday in an embassy surrounded by armed pro-government supporters.
Prospects that Saleh would sign the pact as promised were thrown into doubt.
Wielding knives, daggers and swords, hundreds of Saleh loyalists blocked the entrances to the United Arab Emirates Embassy, where at least five ambassadors were gathered in expectation the embattled leader would arrive to sign the deal.
"Everybody is worried. We can't leave the embassy," said a Saudi diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.
Pro-Saleh militiamen dressed in traditional Yemeni dress roamed the streets of the capital, especially outside embassies, and blocked the road to the presidential palace.
On Saturday, Saleh condemned the proposed deal as "a coup" and warned the U.S. and Europe that his departure would open the door for al-Qaida to seize control of the fragile nation on the edge of Arabia.
"...open the door al-Qaida to seize control..." More fear mongering. Keep me in office or else...accept austerity packages or else...bail out the banks or else. Dictators and democracies are left only with fear as a governing tool as their credibility evaporates.