Yemen’s embattled president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, made a surprise return to his country Friday after three months in Saudi Arabia, where he was undergoing medical treatment after being seriously wounded in a rocket attack on his presidential palace.
After months of violent protests in Yemen and calls for him to step down after 32 years in office, Saleh said after he arrived that he was calling for a “truce and a ceasefire” to end the conflict.
His return comes amid growing concerns of civil war. The BBC’s Bethany Bell reports:
In recent days there has been a surge in violence between forces loyal to President Saleh and rival opposition factions.
There are fears that if the violence continues, the country could slip into civil war.
In the south, there are concerns that Islamist militants linked to al-Qaeda are taking advantage of the turmoil in the country, stepping up attacks on government forces there.
The United States, which has cooperated on anti-terrorism efforts with Saleh, has also been seeking a political resolution to the crisis.
Photo by Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images.
Pakistan Criticizes U.S. Over Embassy Attack Accusations
One day after Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen said that militants with ties to Pakistan were responsible for carrying out an attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul earlier this month, Pakistan warned that the criticism could break ties between the already strained allies.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said Friday that the United States “cannot afford to alienate Pakistan.”
Mullen said Thursday that elements within Pakistan’s spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), supported the Haqqani network, which is believed to be responsible for the attack that killed 16 Afghan police and civilians and put the embassy compound on lockdown for hours during gun battles on nearby streets.