Regime unchanged: under-fire Yemeni president back in post
Ali Abdullah Saleh, who underwent medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, has called for a cease-fire upon return on Friday, saying the dialogue is the only solution to stopping the bloodshed.
“There is no alternative to dialogue and talks aimed as stopping bloodshed and reaching conciliation,” he said as cited by the national news agency.
Saleh plans to address the nation on Sunday, when Yemen celebrates the 49th anniversary of its establishment.
He also chaired a gathering of the leadership of the General People's Congress, Yemen’s ruling party, which Saleh heads. The party announced in a statement after the meeting that the president will remain its head even if it loses the next election.
After the president’s return, the US reiterated the call to step down from power and allow Yemen to "move on".
The country has been plunged into chaos since February, with protests demanding an end to Saleh's 33-year old rule. The government responded with a crackdown, with hundreds killed and thousands injured over the months.
Saleh was severely burned and suffered other injuries when a mortar shell explosion went off in a mosque where he was praying in on June 3. Opponents hoped he would resign as Yemen’s head of state, but after he has recovered he announced he would stay in power.
Yemen could become the next target for international pressure on the Middle Eastern countries, although it stands after Syria on the list, believes Dr. Barah Mikail from the European think tank for global action "FRIDE."