Yemeni President Abdullah Saleh on Thursday made his first television appearance since being wounded last month in an attack on the presidential compound in Sana’a, CNN reported.
The badly burned president, who spoke from Saudi Arabia where he was flown to receive treatment after the attack, said he is on the mend, welcomed talks with opposition forces and indicated he intends to strike back at his attackers.
“We will face the challenge with a challenge,” Saleh was quoted by CNN as having said.
“I send my greetings and appreciation for the Yemeni people inside Yemen and outside Yemen on their stance in facing the challenge that happened in the first Friday of Rajab done by the elements of the terrorism,” he added, referring to the June 3 attack on the presidential compound.
Saleh added he had eight successful surgeries while in Saudi Arabia, but did not specify when he would go back to Yemen.
According to CNN, Yemen’s streets were deserted and residents were glued to their televisions during Saleh’s speech.
Last month’s attack on Saleh came after months of violent protests against him in the country. The violence began in late January and has brought Yemen to the brink of all-out civil war.
As a result of the violence, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) brokered a deal that would secure a peaceful end to Saleh’s nearly 33-year rule. Saleh had initially accepted and then backed out of the deal.
In his television appearance on Thursday, however, Saleh said participation with the opposition is welcomed within the framework of Yemen’s laws.
Saleh’s appearance came after earlier on Thursday Yemen’s Vice President, Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, presented a new plan to end the political deadlock and unrest that has shaken the country. The plan presented, however, would extend Saleh’s tenure.