Sanaa: Uncertainty in Yemen still prevails with the failure of talks between a shaky President Ali Abdullah Saleh and top dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar. Both failed to strike a deal in talks on Yemen's political crisis, sources close to both sides said on Friday.

The meeting was held in Yemeni Vice-President Abdrabbo Mansur's house, one source said.

"(It) failed to come out with a deal that would defuse the crisis" in Yemen, the source added.

The meeting was aimed at "bridging the gap between both sides, preventing a split within the military establishment, and finding ways to hand over power based on the political initiatives offered" by Saleh and the opposition, said another source.

General Ahmar is a key figure who has sided with protesters seeking to oust Saleh from power.

Earlier in the day, Yemen appeared to be nearing a brink as protesters staged a "million people" march onto the capital Sanaa after Friday prayers.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered at Sanaa University Square in a march dubbed as "day of departure rally" where opposition speakers said nothing short of exit of the Saleh, who has ruled the country with an iron fist would be acceptable to them.

Thousands of elite President's Republican Guards separated the protesters from another huge gathering sponsored by embattled Saleh were he declared that he would resist an escalating campaign to oust him.
 
His guards fired in the air after his speech, creating almost chaotic scenes as only a few kilometres separated the loyalists and the pro-democracy protesters.

(Agencies)