SANAA, Yemen – Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has left a hospital in Saudi Arabia more than two months after being severely wounded in an attack on his palace compound in Sanaa, Yemen’s state news agency said Sunday.
A Yemeni government official said that Saleh, who checked out of a hospital in the Saudi capital Saturday, has officially asked Saudi authorities to return to Yemen along with a medical team. His request appears to have been turned down, at least for now, the official said.
The ailing president moved from the hospital to a Saudi government residence in the city to further recuperate, Yemen’s SABA state news agency said.
A second Yemeni official said Saleh will remain in Riyadh for the time being because he is still under medical supervision. “We don’t know yet when he will return to the country, but soon, God willing,” the official said.
Both government officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.
Saleh’s more than two-month absence from Yemen has only added to the uncertainty and instability in the country, the Arab world’s poorest. There are fears his return could throw an already unstable Yemen into further chaos.
The anti-government protest shows no signs of abating, and the economy lies in tatters. Islamist militants – some believed to have links to al-Qaida – have also seized upon the growing chaos to take over entire towns in the south.
The country’s politics, meanwhile, have been in a state of near paralysis. Vice President Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi is nominally in charge in Saleh’s absence. But the real power on the ground appears to be Saleh’s son, who controls some of the country’s best trained military forces, and the powerful Hashid tribal confederation, which opposes the regime.
Government troops and Hashid fighters clashed last week in Sanaa, and remain locked in a tense standoff. In late May, the two fought pitched street battles in the capital.