Mon, Aug 08, 2011 - Page 6 News List

Yemeni president leaves hospital, but stays in Riyadh

AFP, RIYADH

Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh left a Saudi hospital over two months after he was wounded in a bombing at his Sanaa residence, but he will remain in Riyadh, a Saudi official said..

“The Yemeni president left the military hospital this [Saturday] evening at 9:00pm after receiving the necessary treatment and was taken to a temporary residence for a recovery period,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The official did not say how long Saleh would stay, as an uprising continues in Yemen against his government.

Yemeni Junior Information Minister Abdo al-Janadi refused to confirm Saleh’s release from hospital, merely saying that “the president is following his treatment” in Riyadh.

“When his doctors allow him to return, he will return,” al-Janadi said.

Saleh was admitted to the Saudi military hospital the day after the June 3 attack on his official residence. Eleven people were killed and 124 others were wounded, among them senior officials.

He appeared on television on July 7 for the first time since the bombing, covered in bandages.

Saleh accused “elements of terrorism” and elements “linked to the terrorists” of having targeted him in the attack, without saying who he was referring to.

Three days later, he was shown on television receiving John Brennan, US President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser. Saleh was in better shape than in his earlier appearance, although the burns on his face were still visible.

The White House said Brennan had called on Saleh during the meeting to sign a transition plan sponsored by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that would see him cede power within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Since Saleh’s departure, Yemeni Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has assumed power, but has not been designated the de facto head of state.

The opposition, meanwhile, has called for the creation of an interim council, to prevent Saleh’s return.

Saleh has ruled Yemen since 1978 and has worked closely with the US on fighting al-Qaeda, but cooperation has been sharply curtailed this year due to the turmoil in his country.

Yemeni security forces and government supporters have carried out bloody attacks on protesters, while opposition tribesmen have battled government forces in the capital Sanaa and elsewhere and some military units have defected to the opposition.

Influential tribal leaders formed a coalition last month headed by tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar to bolster the uprising against Saleh, in which fierce clashes have hit parts of the country.

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