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Middle East
Yemeni president 'to return home'
State news agency says Ali Abdullah Saleh to return to Yemen from Saudi Arabia after recovery period.
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2011 14:37
Saleh is expected to return to Yemen following a recovery period predetermined by his doctors in Saudi Arabia [EPA]

Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's president, is to return to his country from Saudi Arabia after his doctors have determined the necessary recovery period for him, Yemen's official news agency reported.

The SABA news agency on Tuesday quoted an official within Yemen's presidential office who said Saleh will return "after a specified period of convalescence".

The official also denied a report published in Asharq al-Awsat, the London-based pan-Arab daily, that US officials had convinced Saleh not to return to Yemen.

Saleh was released from the military hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Sunday, where he had been recovering for the last two months following an assassination attempt at the peak of the Yemeni uprising.

'Elements of terrorism'

Saleh appeared on television on July 7 for the first time since the June 3 bombing, covered in bandages.

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He accused "elements of terrorism" of having targeted him in the bomb attack, without specifying the identity of the assailants.

Fighting broke out several months ago between forces loyal to Saleh and those of a powerful tribal faction, which backed the mass protests calling for him to leave his office after 33 years of rule.

Since Saleh's departure to Saudi Arabia, Yemeni vice president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has assumed power in Sanaa but without being designated as de facto head of state.

The opposition, meanwhile, has called for the creation of an interim council, to prevent the return of Saleh who has defiantly clung to power.

Since January, protesters across Yemen have been calling for Saleh to step down.

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 chaos in Yemen could embolden the country's al-Qaeda branch.

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