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Yemen's Prime Minister Returns from Saudi Arabia

Yemen's loyalist Prime Minister Ali Mohammad Mujawer has returned from a hospital in Riyadh - will Saleh follow?
By Gabe Kahn.
First Publish: 8/24/2011, 6:42 PM

 

Yemen's Prime Minister Ali Mohammad Mujawer returned to Sana’a late Tuesday from a hospital in Riyadh, more than two months after he was hurt in a bomb attack on the president's compound, state television said.

Mujawer is the first top Yemeni official to return from medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after being wounded during the June 3 blast in the mosque of the presidential palace, which killed 11 people and wounded several others.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was severely wounded in the attack, vowed on August 16 to return home "soon." Abdul Aziz Abdul Gani, chairman of Yemen's Consultative Council, died from his wounds in Riyadh on Monday.

Despite his absence, Saleh has not transferred power to his Vice-President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, and his family members who lead strong army and security forces appear to be running Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country.

A senior official of Saleh's party, Sultan Al Barakani, said on television that parliamentary speaker Yahia Al Rai, who was also hospitalized in Riyadh after the June 3 attack, would return to Sana’a next week.

However Al Barakani was uncertain of when Saleh would come back, saying, "The decision rests with the president, and with his doctors."

Al Barakani said the results of the investigation into the attack would be revealed next week or after the end of Ramadan, which falls around August 30.

He hinted that the findings would signal a crackdown on the opposition parties supporting the protests against Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years.

"We were tolerant after the incident in the palace mosque and agreed to meet the opposition, but we are no longer holding out a hand to these murderers, these criminals and terrorists ... those who planned and carried out" the attack, he said.

Saleh himself hinted he was looking for payback - a move that underscores the tenacious political survivor still has a grip on the reigns of power and has no intention of leaving office quietly.

Opposition leaders admitted they had underestimated him earlier this month and formed a National Council in the vein of the rebel leadership in Libya dedicated to "seizing power" from Saleh.

It is unclear, with Yemen's military divided between loyalist and opposition factions, and terrorist militias seizing parts of the south, who has the upper hand.