SANAA, Yemen – On Friday Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned after spending three months in Saudi Arabia, where he had fled early June after an attack against his residence. He called for a cease-fire and negotiations to resolve the crisis in the country, in a statement released by the presidency.
On Friday his surprise return was announced by the Yemeni TV, which did not broadcast images of the recent President challenged, in power for 33 years. It showed archive footage of Ali Abdullah Saleh during public appearances, captioned by a band of the Ministry of the Interior urging people not to celebrate the return of head of state by the firing of joy. According to television Yemeni President Saleh is in good health.
Heads of presidential confirmed his return to board a private plane. Ali Saleh was seriously injured and burned in the attack on June 3 against the presidential palace in Sanaa.
He had been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia, stressing that it was a temporary absence and that it will regain Yemen. Despite international pressure and a major protest movement in his country, he refused to cede power and sign a plan to end the crisis produced by the Gulf States.
The return of Ali Saleh comes against a backdrop of heavy fighting between his supporters and opponents, who made a hundred deaths in one week in the capital Sanaa. The fighting between the elite troops of the Republican Guard, commanded by the president’s son, Ahmed Saleh, in units of the army who defected to the opposition, with the reinforcement of fighters of the main tribes of the country.
The return of Ali Saleh “means more divisions, the escalation in the confrontation,” said one of the opposition leaders, Abdel-Hadi al-Azizi. Further demonstrations to demand the departure from power of President Saleh began after Friday prayers. The organizers say to expect a high turnout despite the ongoing fighting.
Friday midday, thousands of supporters and opponents of President Saleh poured into the streets of Sanaa for events in several different places in the city. The pro-Saleh marched along the Boulevard 70 in the south of the capital, including chanting “Ali, we love you” and accusing the opposition of attempting a coup.
An opposition rally was held in conjunction Boulevard 60. Some demonstrators wore pictures of victims killed in the violence.