Last updated: 24 December, 2011

Yemen President Saleh says he plans a stay in US

Yemen’s embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is set to stand down in February, told reporters on Saturday he is planning a stay in the United States in the coming days.

“I will travel to the United States in the coming days, not for treatment because I am well, but in order to create favourable conditions … for the presidential election” set for February 21, he told a news conference in Sanaa.

He said that after his US trip — without saying when this would be — he would return to Yemen to resume his political activities in opposition.

“I will lead political action in the heart of my party in opposition,” he said of his General People’s Congress (GPC) party, which has shared the reins of power in a transition government of national unity since December 10.

Saleh, who has wounded in a June 3 explosion at his Sanaa palace and air lifted to hospital the next day in Saudi Arabia, needs “important” medical treatment abroad, Jamal Benomar, the UN envoy in Yemen, said on Wednesday.

UN chief Ban Ki-Moon had said last month that Saleh would visit New York for medical treatment.