Yemen President Saleh to leave hospital soon: source

RIYADH Sat Aug 6, 2011 4:28pm EDT

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks during an interview broadcast on Yemen's state TV in this still image taken from file video July 7, 2011. REUTERS/Yemen

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks during an interview broadcast on Yemen's state TV in this still image taken from file video July 7, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yemen

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RIYADH (Reuters) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will soon leave the Saudi hospital where he has been recuperating from wounds suffered in an attack on his palace, but will remain in Riyadh for the time being, a Yemeni government source said on Saturday.

Saleh would be moved to Saudi government accommodation in the capital, the source told Reuters.

Saleh was forced to seek treatment in Saudi Arabia after a bomb attack in his palace in June capped weeks of fighting with a powerful tribal grouping, leaving parts of Yemen's capital Sanaa in ruins.

Saleh's prime minister, Ali Mohammed Megawar, injured in the same attack, left hospital and moved into similar official Saudi accommodation earlier on Saturday, the source said.

Saleh has vowed to return to Yemen, in the face of six months of protests demanding an end to his 33-year rule, and a political crisis that has brought the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of civil war.

The deadlock over his fate has seen longstanding conflicts with Islamists and separatists flare anew, raising fears in neighboring Saudi Arabia and the United States that chaos in Yemen could embolden the country's Al Qaeda wing.

Washington, which had made Saleh a cornerstone of its counter-terrorism strategy, last month urged him to make good on a pledge to leave office under the terms of a deal brokered by Yemen's resource-rich Gulf Arab neighbors.

Saleh backed out of that pact on three occasions, the last of which ushered the street clashes that culminated in the attack that sent him to hospital in Riyadh.

(Reporting by Mohamed Sudam; Writing by Joseph Logan; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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