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Yemeni president slams opposition, vows to return "soon"

(Xinhua)

08:28, August 17, 2011

SANAA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh slammed the opposition and promised to his supporters that he will return to Yemen soon in a speech broadcast on the state TV Tuesday.

Saleh, who is in neighboring Saudi Arabia for rehabilitation after he was injured in a bomb attack on his presidential palace on June 3, vowed that he will return to the Yemeni capital Sanaa " very soon" when addressing a gathering of at least 5,000 representatives of different tribes across Yemen.

"See you in Sanaa very soon," said the veteran president, who also slammed the opposition for their stance in the prolonged political crisis and invited them to turn to the ballot box to end the standoff.

Saleh described the opposition coalition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) as "chronic disease," assuring his supporters that he will stay in office until 2013.

"We are not clinging to power. We never say that we want power or we will fight for holding the power to death. We were forced to be in power in the 2006 presidential elections," he said.

"I do not mind to move power to Vice President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, (but) can this guarantee the end of violence?" Saleh said, "No, this could not end it."

The embattled president mentioned nothing about the power- transition deal initiated by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in his speech from Riyadh, but "warned some Western and Arab countries from financing the Yemeni opposition."

The tribal gathering came a day ahead of a planned meeting of the JMP, in which the opposition will declare the formation of a transitional ruling council to "rule Yemen during the post-Saleh period."

Yemen has been embroiled in a severe political crisis since the eruption of protests against Saleh's 33-year rule in late January.

The armed supporters of Saleh and protesters backed by the opposition and defected army forces are gearing up for confrontations on Wednesday, when the opposition is due to convene for the establishment of the "National Ruling Council" despite the government's warning, according to sources affiliated with the rivals.


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