The United States is considering a request from outgoing Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to undergo medical treatment in America for injuries sustained in an attack on his palace in June.
Saleh's office contacted the U.S. Embassy in the capital Sana'a recently and indicated the leader would like to depart Yemen soon, according to a statement by a U.S. administration official distributed to reporters by email.
The only reason the United States would grant the request for travel to the country would be for legitimate medical treatment, the official said on the condition of anonymity.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis have rallied in the capital to demand that Saleh face prosecution for deaths since uprisings began in January. Saleh said Saturday that he plans to depart as the country prepares for Feb. 21 balloting that will replace him.
Saleh, who agreed last month to step down amid street protests, has said that he'll return to Yemen to represent the opposition.
President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, called Yemeni Vice President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi to discuss recent violence in the capital, according to an emailed statement by Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
At least nine demonstrators were killed when security forces opened fire on protesters Saturday, according to Mohammed al-Qubati, a coordinator at a makeshift field clinic.
Demonstrators are calling for the prosecution of Saleh and his aides in the deaths of at least 1,100 people since January.