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Yemen’s Saleh to address nation as opposition urges Vice President to join transitional council

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Yemen’s wounded President Ali Abdullah Saleh, recovering in a Riyadh hospital from a bomb blast, is to address his people “very soon,” the defense ministry’s website reported on Monday.

Anti-regime protesters meanwhile gave Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi 24 hours to join a transitional council to rule Yemen.

Under the constitution, Mr. Hadi is caretaker president in Mr. Saleh’s absence.

Activists of the “Youth Revolution” movement, in a statement, urged Mr. Hadi to “clarify his position in the coming 24 hours and (state) whether or not he will take part in the transitional council.”

Health Minister Abdul Karim Rasei, who visited Mr. Saleh on Saturday, said the embattled president would “very soon speak directly through the media to the Yemeni people,” the website 26sep.net reported.

The president, wounded in an attack on the mosque in his palace compound in Sana’a on June 3, is “improving each day and is in good health,” said the minister.

President Saleh, who has faced four months of protests calling for his ouster, was flown to Riyadh for treatment a day after the explosion.

On Saturday, an informed Yemeni source in Riyadh said the 69-year-old leader was in poor condition and suffering breathing problems, according to Agence-France Presse.

But 26sep.net reported that Mr. Rasei had “spoken with the president, who seemed in good health,” adding that President Saleh and other senior officials wounded in the attack were all out of danger.

Eleven people were killed and 124 others wounded, according to Yemeni officials, in the impoverished country of 24 million people.

(Abeer Tayel, a senior editor at Al Arabiya, can be reached at: [email protected])