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Saleh to address nation, aide says

President's camp gives positive updates on his health amid contradictory reports

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Image Credit: Reuters
A woman displays a message written on her hands during a demonstration demanding theouster of Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the southern city of Taiz on Monday.
Gulf News

Dubai: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who flew to Saudi Arabia for the treatment of burns and injuries from an attack ten days ago, will deliver a speech "in the next few days", a close aide to Saleh said Monday.

Speaking to Gulf News, the source said Saleh "will deliver the speech in the next couple of days".

Asked whether the speech will be televised or not, the source replied, "It has not yet been decided."

Earlier, the Yemeni health minister, Abdul Karim Yahya Rasei, was quoted by Yemeni website as saying that Saleh will "very soon speak directly through the media to the Yemeni people".

Meanwhile, the source stressed that Saleh's health condition is "steadily improving". "He is really well," the source said.

On the other hand, other Sana'a-based sources stressed that Saleh's health condition has deteriorated and no officials were allowed to visit him other than those who had accompanied him from Yemen to Saudi Arabia.

In Yemen, the opposition, meanwhile, held talks with the country's acting leader in a bid to defuse months of violent political unrest over the future of Saleh.

A member of the opposition coalition had on Sunday said that vice-president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was refusing to meet with them.

Saleh on three previous occasions backed out at the last minute from the GCC plan that envisages his leaving office inside a month, with a guarantee of immunity from prosecution.

Fierce street battles between Saleh's security forces and those of General Ali Al Mohsin Al Ahmar, who abandoned the president in March, engulfed Sana'a when the most recent bid for an agreed political transition collapsed last month.

A ceasefire has held in Sana'a since Saleh left following the June 3 attack on his palace.

Over 200 people were killed and thousands fled during two weeks of clashes between his loyalists and the forces of tribal leader Shaikh Sadiq Al Ahmar, who also backs the protesters.

— With additional inputs from Reuters