U.S. Gates says not planned for post-Saleh Yemen

CAIRO, March 23 Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:05pm EDT

CAIRO, March 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. defense secretary said on Wednesday that it was too soon to determine the outcome of political turmoil in Yemen and said Washington had not planned for an era without President Ali Abdullah Saleh in office.

"I think things are obviously, or evidently, very unsettled in Yemen. I think it's too soon to call an outcome. We've had a good working relationship with President Saleh. He's been an important ally in the counter-terrorism arena," said Robert Gates, speaking in Cairo.

"But clearly there's a lot of unhappiness inside Yemen. And I think we will basically just continue to watch the situation. We haven't done any post-Saleh planning," he said. (Reporting by Phillip Stewart; Writing by Edmund Blair)