Former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has sent messages to Arab Gulf states, asking for a safe exit for himself and his family, sources told Al Jazeera.
Saleh, who was forced to step down in 2012 after a wave of protests against his rule, is said to be backing Houthi rebels who have seized the capital Sanaa and are battling forces loyal to embattled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia.
The message for safe passage was communicated by leaders of the General Popular Congress, including former Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, sources told Al Jazeera. Saleh has been leader of the GPC.
Sources said the request was rejected by Saudi Arabia, which is a member of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council and is leading a coalition that has bombed Houthi positions since March 26.
"In the message Saleh seems to have actually told the Gulf leaders via his envoy that he has no ties whatsoever with the Houthis and he is not part of this war," said Al Jazeera's Mohamed Vall, reporting from the Saudi capital of Riyadh.