Yemen Dismisses Report that Saleh Will Not Return

Posted August 9th, 2011 at 10:50 am (UTC-5)
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Yemen's state-run news agency says wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh plans to return to the country after his recovery period in Saudi Arabia.

SABA news said Tuesday there was “no truth” to a report to the contrary. It said the president, who was injured during a June attack on his presidential compound, would return to Yemen after a period of recuperation determined by his doctors.

On Monday, a London-based pan-Arab newspaper said Mr. Saleh had decided not to return home — partly, it said, “as a result of U.S. pressure.”

Mr. Saleh was discharged from a Saudi hospital late Saturday and moved to a Saudi government residence. He suffered severe burns in the June bomb attack.

The Yemeni leader has repeatedly refused to step down, despite six months of nationwide opposition protests against his 33-year autocratic rule. His deputy Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has run the country in his absence.

The United States has urged Mr. Saleh to agree to a plan drafted by the Gulf Cooperation Council, under which he would hand power to a deputy within 30 days in return for immunity from prosecution. The Yemeni president has repeatedly refused to sign the plan.

In the June 3 attack, a bomb went off inside a mosque in Mr. Saleh's presidential palace, while he and other senior officials were praying. The blast killed 11 people and seriously wounded a number of the officials.