On Monday night, Saleh told Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz during a telephone conversation that he will be forced to give up power and requested him and his family’s asylum to Saudi Arabia, nahrainnet reported.
Earlier Tuesday, Saleh had expressed his willingness to step down by the year’s end to prepare a peaceful transfer of power in the impoverished Arab nation.
The announcement came as a reversal of Saleh’s recent comments in which he had said he would remain in power until the end of his term in 2013.
During talks with the Saudi officials, Saleh discussed the deflection of senior military officials to the opposition and the resignation of many other officials from their posts.
A senior Saudi official is expected to visit Sana’a in the next 24 hours to plan Saleh and his family’s departure to Riyadh.
Saleh has been in office for more than three decades, with several opposition members arguing that his long-promised reforms have not materialized.
Protests began to sweep Yemen in January. Dozens of people have been killed and hundreds more have been injured in a brutal crackdown by security forces.
Some 40 percent of Yemen’s population lives on under $2 a day or less, and a third is wrestling with chronic hunger, reports say.