President Ali Abdullah Saleh is to speak on television within days to reassure Yemenis on his health, three weeks after being taken to hospital in Riyadh with bomb blast wounds, an official said yesterday.
A United Nations mission, meanwhile, started a 10-day visit to Yemen to examine the human-rights situation in Yemen after five months of street protests against Saleh and deadly clashes with security forces.
“A team from Yemeni television headed to Riyadh on Monday to carry out an interview with the president, expected to be aired after Thursday,” the deputy information minister, Abdo Al Janadi, said.
“In this interview, Saleh will address the Yemeni people to reassure them about his health,” Mr Al Janadi said.
Mr Al Janadi appeared to backtrack from comments on Monday, when he said rumours of Mr Saleh’s address in the coming days were just “well-wishing”.
Mr Saleh, 69, was flown to the Saudi capital on June 4 for treatment from wounds suffered in a bomb explosion as he prayed at the mosque of his presidential compound in Sana’a.
A mission sent by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights landed in Sana’a, after the Security Council last week expressed “grave concern” over the violence in Yemen, state news agency Saba reported. They were to start by meeting Mr Saleh’s son Ahmed who commands the elite Republican Guards, his nephew Yehya who heads the central security services, and Tariq, another nephew controlling the presidential guard, a UN team member said.
The delegation were also to hold talks with the vice-president and the acting president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, and with the powerful dissident tribal chief Sheikh Sadeq Al Ahmar, whose fighters were locked in more than a week of deadly clashes with Mr Saleh’s troops that ended earlier this month.