Yemen VP: President Saleh Coming Back ‘In Days’

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Yemen's vice president says President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be returning to Yemen “in days” after undergoing surgery in Saudi Arabia for a shrapnel wound.

Yemen's state media quote Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi Monday as saying the president is recovering well. The vice president is serving as the country's acting leader in Mr. Saleh's absence.

Mr. Saleh was wounded in a rocket attack Friday on his presidential compound. Ruling party officials insist Mr. Saleh will return to Yemen, but analysts say it is not clear whether his Saudi hosts will allow him to go back home as president.

Meanwhile, opposition tribesmen in Yemen say government snipers in the capital, Sana'a, have killed at least three supporters of tribal leader Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar.

The shootings Monday came a day after the vice president ordered government forces to vacate opposition-controlled areas of the capital, while al-Ahmar began to evacuate his militia from government buildings and called for an end to the fighting.

Scores of people have been killed in two weeks of clashes in Sana'a.

Mr. Hadi met with U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein Sunday to discuss cooperation with Yemen's opposition coalition. Mr. Hadi also met separately with military commanders, including several of Mr. Saleh's sons.

The Washington Post reported that U.S. and European diplomats, including Feierstein, urged Yemen's opposition to refrain from setting up interim government committees before Mr. Saleh is formally out of power. The newspaper cited a U.S. embassy spokeswoman as saying Washington is continuing attempts to push its onetime ally out of power.

Joyful celebrations broke out in Yemen Sunday, after word spread that the embattled Mr. Saleh had left the country. But expressions of concern also emerged about whether Mr. Saleh's 33 years in power have really come to an end.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since the popular uprising against Mr. Saleh began in January.