Wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh plans to return to Yemen on July 17 -- the date he will celebrate the completion of 33 years in power, sources told Al Arabiya early Sunday.
A senior leader of the ruling General People’s Congress (GPC) party who refused to be named said Mr. Saleh is determined to return to Yemen on July 17 to deliver the message that he is still the legitimate president of Yemen until September 2013.
The source added that President Saleh will continue his recovery in the capital Sana’a and that a Saudi medical team will accompany him.
The source also said that any power transfer talks will not begin prior to Mr. Saleh’s return.
President Saleh, 69, has been hospitalized in Saudi Arabia, and out of the public eye, since he was badly injured in a bomb attack at his presidential palace last. Amid growing speculation over his condition, he finally appeared on Yemeni television on Thursday night.
His face burned and his hands covered with bandages, Mr. Saleh poke from a hospital in Saudi Arabia where he has been receiving medical treatment. He was barely recognizable and sat stiffly as he spoke in the pre-recorded statement.
President Saleh rose to power in North Yemen in July 1978 as the President of North Yemen. Mr. Saleh witnessed the unification of the two Yemens, the 1994 civil war, several wars in Saada province, north of the country, a separatist movement in the south and other conflicts.
(Translated from Arabic original by Mustapha Ajbaili)