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Saleh back in Yemen to 'prepare for elections

A senior Saudi official says Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned home after a three month absence to prepare for elections and put the Yemeni house in"order"

AFP , Friday 23 Sep 2011
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh reacts while looking at his supporters,during a rally supporting him, in Sanaa,Yemen April 8, 2011 (Photo:AP)
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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned home from Saudi Arabia on Friday after a three month absence to put his house "in order" and to "prepare for elections," a senior Saudi official said.

Saleh has "returned to Sanaa to put the Yemeni house in order and to prepare for elections," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

The official added that Saleh will "leave" after this, without specifying whether he would leave power or leave Yemen altogether.

The surprise return of Saleh, in power since 1978 but badly wounded in a June 4 bomb attack on his compound, was announced by Yemeni state television. He arrived in Sanaa at 5:00 am (0200 GMT) by plane from Riyadh, an airport source told AFP.

The 69-year-old, who has faced mass protests against his rule since January, received treatment in Saudi Arabia for the blast wounds he received in the bombing.

His return came as his forces fought dissidents loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar in central Sanaa and in Change Square, epicentre of protests, for a sixth straight day.

Rival tribesmen have also been locked in deadly battles in Sanaa's northern Al-Hasaba district.

Saleh called for a truce and talks to end the political crisis rocking his country.

At least 103 people have been killed in the latest surge of violence that erupted on Sunday. A truce declared by Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi late on Tuesday lasted only a few hours before battles resumed.

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