SANAA, Yemen – Outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh will leave soon to Oman, en route to medical treatment in the United States, Yemeni officials said Saturday, part of an American effort to get the embattled strongman out of the country to allow a peaceful transition from his rule.
Washington has been trying for weeks to find a country where Saleh can live in exile. The mercurial president who has ruled for more than 33 years has repeatedly gone back and forth on whether he would leave.
The officials’ comments Saturday suggested Oman, Yemen’s neighbor, could be a potential home for him. Three officials said he would go, but they were divided on whether he would remain in exile in Oman or return to Yemen after treatment. His return, even if he no longer holds the post of president, could mean continued turmoil for the impoverished nation.
The U.S. does not want to take him in, concerned it would be seen by Yemenis as harboring a leader they say has blood on his hands for the killings of protesters. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates already have rejected Saleh, American officials said.
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