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U.S. refuses to comment on Yemeni president's return plan

(Xinhua)

08:41, August 17, 2011

WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. State Department on Tuesday declined to say whether the U.S. supports or opposes the plan of the embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh to return to his country, only urging him to sign the power- transition deal.

Saleh, who is in the neighboring Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation after he was injured in a bomb attack on his presidential palace on June 3, vowed on Tuesday that he will return "very soon" to the Yemeni capital Sanaa.

"If he is well enough to make a statement, he is well enough to sign the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) agreement and allow his country to move on," said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland at a regular briefing.

"So we are interested in the actions he takes to allow his country to move on democratically, wherever he does those from," she said, adding that "the sooner he does it, the better it will be" for Yemen and for the stability in the region.

Yemen has been embroiled in a severe political crisis since the eruption of protests against Saleh's 33-year rule in late January. Saleh has been refusing to sign a power-transition deal brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council.

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