WASHINGTON — The White House is calling on Yemen's president to transfer power and hold presidential elections by the end of the year.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the Yemeni people have suffered enough and deserve a path toward a better future. He spoke following Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh's surprise return to his country following three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia.

Saleh is calling for a cease-fire and negotiations to end tensions between forces loyal to him and his protesters demanding his ouster. But his comments suggest he does not intend to step down from power.

Both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia were believed to be trying to keep Saleh from leaving Saudi Arabia.