Yemeni Leader’s Health Described as ‘Bad’

Posted June 11th, 2011 at 7:45 am (UTC-5)
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There are new reports that the health problems of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh are so significant that he is not likely to return anytime soon from his hospital stay in Saudi Arabia.

The Yemeni leader left his homeland a week ago after sustaining burns over 40 percent of his body in a bomb attack on the presidential compound. On Saturday, one Yemeni expatriate in Riyadh described Mr. Saleh's health as “bad,” saying that he is suffering lung and respiration problems.

An analyst in the Yemeni seaside port of Aden noted that Mr. Saleh “narrowly underwent” successful surgery for his injuries, but surmised that it will take him months to recover.

Tens of thousands of Mr. Saleh's government loyalists in Yemen on Friday cheered the news that he was out of intensive care, but a separate group of demonstrators in the capital of Sana'a called for the end to his 33-year reign.

At least 200 protesters demanding his ouster have been killed in Yemeni demonstrations in the last four months. Mr. Saleh has refused to sign a deal brokered by neighboring countries calling for him to quit in return for immunity against prosecution. Some analysts in the region have said they do not believe the Saudis will allow Mr. Saleh to return to Yemen, although the Saudi government has publicly said that he is free to do so.

At the anti-government rally Friday, some demonstrators urged Vice President Abd al-Rab Mansur Hadi to set up a transitional government council. The French news agency reported that opponents have agreed on seven potential candidates.