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Hani Mohammed, Associated Press
Yemeni vendor Hassan Azany, 19, left sits by his makeshift shop at an alley in the old city of Sanaa, Yemen Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012.

SANAA, Yemen — A senior official from Yemen's ruling party says President Ali Abdullah Saleh will not travel to the U.S. for medical treatment and will instead remain in Yemen.

Sheik Mohammed al-Shaif, a powerful tribal chief and leading member in the ruling General People's Congress party, says Saleh's decision to remain in Yemen comes after his party urged him not to leave the country.

Al-Shaif told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Saleh is needed in Yemen to implement a power transfer deal he signed last year. Saleh is said to be concerned that his relatives and backers will be purged from power.

The deal, brokered by Gulf Arab states and backed by the U.S., guarantees Saleh immunity from prosecution over the deaths of protesters in exchange for handing over powerS.