Friday, July 15, 2011

Saleh returning home to Yemen

July 15, 2011

SANAA, Yemen, July 15 (UPI) -- After eight surgeries in Saudi Arabia for injuries from an attack on his compound, Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh is heading home, officials said.

Saleh, who reportedly received severe burns in the attack, is scheduled to return to Yemen Sunday, CNN reported.

"The Yemeni government all along insisted that Saleh's health situation was not major," said Zaid Thari, a political adviser for Saleh's ruling General People Congress Party.

Saleh has been under pressure to accept a political transition plan developed by the Gulf Cooperation Council -- which includes plans for him to step down -- after months of anti-government protests. Officials in Sanaa, the capital, rejected calls for Saleh to step down.

"No one will lead the ruling party, only Saleh. He is the constitutional president and unless he steps down willingly, the Yemeni people will support him to the last man," said Abdu al-Ganadi, Yemen's spokesman.

John Brennan, U.S. President Barack Obama's top counter terrorism adviser, visited Saleh in Saudi Arabia Sunday.

Brennan wished Saleh a "speedy recovery" but "emphasized the importance of resolving the political crisis in Sanaa," the White House said in a statement.

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