Yemeni President Saleh says he will ’soon’ return to his country

August 17th, 2011 - 3:11 am ICT by BNO News  

SANAA (BNO NEWS) — Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh on Tuesday assured his supporters that he intends to return to the country ’soon’, the Yemen Post reported. Saleh is currently in Saudi Arabia.

In his fifth televised appearance since leaving the country for medical treatment in June, President Saleh called on the country’s opposition parties to dialogue instead of using force to reach power. “Reaching power must come through elections and not coups,” Saleh said in his speech.

While hundreds of Saleh’s followers celebrated in the streets of the capital Sana’a after the speech, opposition parties were not happy with the threatening tone Saleh used during his televised appearance. “We are surprised that Saudi Arabia is allowing Saleh to threaten his people and the opposition while he is a guest on its lands,” a senior opposition Joint Meeting Parties official said, as cited by the Yemen Post.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of tribal leaders gathered in Sana’a in support of his government. “Tribes in Yemen will stay steadfast and in support of Saleh,” the statement of the tribes meeting read, according to the report.

On Wednesday, opposition parties are expecting to announce their national council which they intend to market to the international community as an option in case Saleh’s regime falls from power.

Saleh, 69, was wounded along with other government officials in the bomb attack which hit the mosque of the presidential palace in Sanaa on June 3. They were hospitalized in Riyadh for treatment the following day.

Protesters have continually demanded the resignation of government leaders and President Saleh, who has ruled the country for 32 years. Violence has continued to escalate after Saleh threatened with civil war after refusing, for the third time, to sign a power transfer deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) on May 22.

The GCC-proposed plan included guarantees that Saleh will not be prosecuted after his resignation within 30 days from the acceptance date. It also called for holding presidential elections within two months from the date of Saleh’s departure as well as the establishment of a new government within 90 days.

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