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Saleh Stands Defiant As 'Legitimate' Yemen Leader

Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
President Ali Abdullah Saleh insisted today he remained Yemen's "legitimate" leader under the constitution, and called on the opposition to engage in dialogue to preserve stability in the state.

Saleh addressed thousands of supporters in the capital, Sanaa, following weeks of demonstrations against his rule.

More than 125 people have been killed in clashes with security forces or Saleh supporters.

In a statement issued today, Yemen's religious scholars and tribal leaders called on the president to step down immediately.

Thousands of Saleh opponents rallied in Sanaa, and in the south-western city of Taiz today.

compiled from agency reports