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Middle East
Yemen president Saleh appears on TV
Ali Abdullah Saleh makes his first appearance after being severely wounded in a bomb blast at his palace last month.
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2011 18:51
The pre-recorded interview with Ali Abdullah Saleh aired Thursday on Yemen TV [Reuters]

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, his face burned and his hands covered with bandages, has appeared on television for the first time since he was wounded in a bomb attack on his palace in Sanaa.

Saleh, who was hospitalised in Saudi Arabia after the June 3 attack, said he had undergone "more than eight successful operations" and called for dialogue in his speech broadcast on Yemeni television on Thursday.

In his brief address, recorded in Saudi Arabia, he said those who have sought to drive him from power had an "incorrect understanding of democracy".

In video

Ameen Al Himyari, a Yemeni professor, talked to Al Jazeera about the impact of the president's speech

More than four months of popular uprising seeking to push the longtime ruler from power have shaken the impoverished Arabian peninsula country.

Saleh said he welcomed power sharing as long as it was within the country's constitutional framework.

State television showed fireworks lighting up the sky above the capital at the end of Saleh's speech, as the president's supporters celebrated his appearance.

"Where are the men who fear God? Why don't they stand with dialogue and with reaching satisfactory solutions?" Saleh asked during his speech.

He also thanked Abdrabbu Mansour Hadi, the vice president, who has come under domestic and international pressure to assume power during the president's absence, "for his efforts in bridging gaps between all political parties".

Ameen Al Himyari, a Qatar University professor, told Al Jazeera that the US is not placing enough pressure on Saleh to step down.

"The interest of the Americans and the Saudis is to support the protestsers, the revolution. It's peaceful and they can guarantee security," Al Himyari said. 

"Supporting the corrupt regime its going to create a lot of problems."

'Disappointment'

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, who has reported extensively from Yemen, said: "I think it will come as a disappointment to tens of thousands of people who have been protesting in Sanaa.

"They were watching this message to try to figure out if he is going to come back and if there is going to be some kind of transition of power.
 
"But the main thing here is that we saw him in vision. We've been waiting for this message for weeks. Since the explosion we were told that he was going back to Yemen.
 
"Certainly when people watched him, they would see a man who looks defeated in some way, without his glasses and suit. He didn't look his normal self. He was in his tone defiant and in his speech very eloquent.
 
"There is a feeling there that the vice president is a more conciliatory figure in the country. When I was in Yemen at the beginning of the protests, the meetings with the opposition would take place at the VP's house.

"The VP is a good figure to take this forward. But the reality on ground is that most of the power - when it comes to security - is still in hands of [Saleh's] sons and nephews."

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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