Thursday, August 25, 2011

Saleh well enough to use a pen, U.S. says

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25 (UPI) -- No matter where he is, the Yemeni president has the ability to use a pen and sign a political transition deal, a U.S. State Department official said.

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh remains in Saudi Arabia despite his recent release from a hospital where he was recovering from wounds suffered during a June 3 attack on his presidential compound in the nation's capital.

Yemeni Prime Minister Ali Mujawar, also wounded in the June 3 attack, returned to Yemen this week. He said other officials receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia were improving and they would be headed to Yemen "soon," the official Saba news agency reports.

Saleh has faced pressure to step down for most of the year. He claims to support a deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council for transition but hasn't signed the measure. His latest message said his leadership was legitimate through 2013.

Victoria Nuland, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, expressed growing frustration with Saleh's apparent stubbornness. She said Saleh should be able to sign off on the GCC no matter his location.

"I don't think it matters where he is," she said. "He has the ability to use a pen and sign (the deal)."

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