By the CNN Wire Staff
December 27, 2011
Embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be allowed to come to the United States for medical treatment in New York, a senior Obama administration official said Tuesday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, acknowledged a debate within the administration.
Officials do not want to come across as providing safe haven to a dictator responsible for a violent crackdown on an uprising that killed many protesters, the source said.
The decision was made in hopes that Saleh's departure from Yemen could ease tensions in the country and help pave the way toward elections next year, the official said.
Saleh was wounded in a June bomb attack on his presidential palace.
He received treatment in Saudi Arabia as protests grew against his 33-year rule.
On Monday, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said U.S. officials were considering Saleh's request to come to America "for the sole purpose of seeking medical treatment."
Saleh agreed to step down from power after months of unrest.
Yemen has been wracked with protests throughout the year, with demonstrators and rival factions demanding the president's departure and calling for elections.
In November, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that Saleh had told him he would come to New York for medical treatment after signing an agreement to step down. Under the deal, brokered by the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council, the president agreed to transfer power into the hands of a coalition government.
While unpopular with many Yemenis, Saleh has been an ally of the United States in its war on terrorism, particularly against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.