|Yemen has been rocked by months of protests against Saleh's three decades of rule [AFP]
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is on the mend following an attack on him three weeks ago and will appear on television in the next 48 hours, a senior aide has said.
Saleh has been recovering in Saudi Arabia since suffering injuries in a bomb blast at his presidential palace in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, on June 3. He has not been seen in public since the attack, which left several people dead.
"The president will appear within the next 48 hours despite our fear that the burns on his features and on different parts of his body will be an obstacle," Ahmed al-Sufi, a senior aide to Saleh, said on Sunday.
"His appearance will not be as the media expects it."
Yemen has been rocked by months of protests against Saleh's three decades of rule. His deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has been at the helm since Saleh left Yemen for Saudi Arabia to seek medical treatment.
But Sufi said the president had continued to direct Yemeni affairs from abroad.
Son voices support
However, Ahmed Saleh, the powerful son of the Yemeni president, voiced his support on Sunday for efforts spearheaded by Hadi and the opposition to find a solution to the nation's political turmoil.
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The younger Saleh, commander of the country's elite Republican Guards, "expressed his support'' for attempts by Hadi and opposition leaders to "reach a solution to the current crisis", a statement from his office read.
The comments appeared to mark a turnabout for the president's son, who has played the role of chief guarantor of his family's hold on power since his father left the country for Saudi Arabia.
Yemen's opposition welcomed Ahmed Saleh's remarks, but said they must translate into action on the ground.
"The president's son is taking an advanced step but still it is only on paper,'' the Associated Press news agency quoted activist Abdullah Oubal as saying. "What is more important is to implement it.''
Thousands of people marched in Sanaa on Sunday to demand Saleh relinquish power, and they condemned the United States and Saudi Arabia for what they saw as a failure to take a strong stand against him.
"The position of the United States and Saudi Arabia is against our revolution ... We want a transition council to be set up and for the remainders of the regime to leave," demonstrator Imar Naji told the Reuters news agency, referring to Saleh's sons who hold top military and security posts.
Military base attacked
Hundreds of people have been killed in five months of protests against Saleh's rule.
Meanwhile, in the south of the country on Sunday, two soldiers and seven fighters were killed in clashes after an attack on an army base in the town of Zinjibar.
"Two soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded" when fighters attacked the camp of the 25th Mechanised Brigade in the city, a military source said.
Government officials have said the armed fighters are linked to al-Qaeda, though opponents of Saleh accuse his government of exaggerating the threat from "al Qaeda" fighters to head off pressure to end his 33-year rule.
Yemen is the home of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, an affiliate of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's network.