- Saudi Arabia - unrest - Yemen
President Saleh to return to Yemen after recovery
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, recuperating in Saudi Arabia from injuries sustained in an assassination attempt two months ago, plans to return to his country when doctors deem him fit, Yemen's state media announced Tuesday.
REUTERS - Wounded Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will return to his country from Saudi Arabia after a recovery period determined by his doctors, Yemen’s state news agency said on Tuesday.
Saleh has been recovering in Saudi Arabia from injuries suffered in an assassination attempt two months ago, at the peak of fighting between forces loyal to him and those of a powerful tribal faction supporting mass protests that called for him to quit after 33 years of authoritarian rule.
Political paralysis over Saleh’s fate has brought the Arab world’s poorest country to the brink of civil war and raised fears in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United States that rising turmoil could embolden the Yemen-based wing of al Qaeda.
The agency quoted an official in Yemen’s presidential office denying a report in the London-based pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat that U.S. officials had convinced Saleh not to return to Yemen, as he has repeatedly vowed to do since his departure.
The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of foiled al Qaeda attacks from Yemen, have tried to stave off turmoil amid a growing power vacuum by trying to ease Saleh from office with a plan brokered by Yemen’s wealthier Gulf neighbours.
Saleh agreed to the deal but backed out of signing at the last minute on three separate occasions, the last of which kindled weeks of fighting between his forces and fighters from the al Hashed tribal grouping, which backs calls for his ouster.
That round of fighting left parts of the Yemeni capital Sanaa in ruins before an uneasy ceasefire took hold with Saleh’s departure.
But after weeks of relative calm, Yemen’s longstanding regional conflicts have flared anew, including a battle with Islamist militants that has sparked mass flight from a southern province.