White House pushes Yemeni president to leave power

According to a White House readout, Brennan called Saleh to "urge" the embattled president "to sign and implement the Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered agreement so that Yemen is able to move forward immediately with its political transition."

Brennan told Saleh the "transfer of power represents the best path forward for Yemen to become a more secure, unified and prosperous nation and for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for peace and political reform,” the White House said.

"He affirmed the commitment of the United States to stand with the Yemeni government and people as they implement this historic agreement, foster economic development and combat the security threat from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula," the readout said.

The call comes on the eve of a major address by Obama on the "Arab Spring" uprisings in the region. Also Wednesday, the administration announced new sanctions on Syrian government leaders.