SANAA — An opposition spokesman on Sunday urged the UN Security Council to break the political deadlock in Yemen, scoffing at a statement from President Ali Abdullah Saleh that he was ready to step down.

Mohammed Qahtan, spokesman for the parliamentary opposition Common Forum, said regional efforts to resolve the months-long political crisis in Yemen, in particular by Yemen's neighbours in the Gulf, had reached a deadlock.

The United Nations, especially its Security Council, would be "more effective" in ending the crisis and serve as a "continuation of the regional efforts" already underway, he told AFP in a telephone interview.

Qahtan was speaking ahead of Tuesday's planned report to the United Nations by Yemen envoy Jamal Benomar on his failure to clinch agreement on a Gulf Cooperation Council deal for a transition of power in Yemen.

In a televised speech on Saturday, Saleh said: "I don't want power and I will give it up in the coming days."

The opposition, however, has dismissed his declaration as a sham, citing numerous other occasions when Saleh said he would resign but later refused to do so.

"Very simply, Saleh does not want to resign from power," Qahtan said, charging that the speech was merely a ploy to divert attention from Benomar's report to the UN.

"There is nothing new (in Saleh's declaration) ... Saleh will never hand over power willingly," he said.