Yemen’s Saleh to Make First Speech Since Injury Tomorrow

Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh will speak tomorrow in his first public appearance since being wounded in an attack on his presidential palace earlier this month, a member of the country’s ruling party said.

Saleh will give a televised address, Yasser Al-Yamani told Al-Arabiya television today. Abdul Karim al-Eryani, Saleh’s political adviser, said yesterday that he visited the president in Saudi Arabia and found him to be in good health, the state-run Saba news agency reported.

The president is recuperating in Saudi Arabia after being injured in a June 3 attack on his compound in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, leaving Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi in charge. Pro-democracy protesters have been calling for Saleh to step down since January, leading to deadly clashes between activists and security forces.

Saleh has ruled over Yemen for 32 years. His son heads the country’s special forces, the Republican Guard. Violence has escalated since late May after Saleh refused to sign an accord with the opposition brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council requiring him to step down within 30 days and hand power over to Hadi in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Saleh’s government has said the rising social unrest threatens to strengthen al-Qaeda, a concern also expressed by the U.S. Yemeni forces killed about 20 suspected members of al-Qaeda during clashes in the southern province of Abyan, Ahmed Ghalib al-Rahwi, the provincial deputy governor, said in a telephone interview June 21.

Speaking in his capacity as commander of the Republican Guard, Ahmad Ali Abdullah Saleh said June 26 that the armed forces are committed to implementing the directives of Vice President Hadi, Saba reported. He added that the armed forces will continue to respond to any “hostile” actions.

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