Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- “Will he go or wont he?” This is the fundamental question that has preoccupied those following Yemeni affairs and the case of President Ali Abdullah Saleh specifically, who was injured on Friday in an attack that targeted the mosque of the presidential palace. Recent reports of President Saleh travelling to Saudi Arabia yesterday, for treatment for injuries he sustained in the incident, have now been confirmed.
It appears that the health status of the Yemeni president is not good, and this was reflected in the fact that he did not appear on television after the attack on the presidential palace. The Saudi royal court issued a statement indicating that President Saleh had arrived in Riyadh to be treated for wounds.
Confirmation of President Saleh’s departure emerged from the Yemeni side yesterday evening; hours after the country had denied media reports yesterday afternoon suggesting that the Yemeni President had travelled to Saudi Arabia for treatment.
Prior to that, Yemen information sources reported that the Yemeni Prime Minister and other officials had already travelled to Saudi Arabia, to receive treatment for injuries suffered as a result of presidential palace attack.
A Saudi source spoke to Asharq al-Awsat under the condition of anonymity, saying that his country’s treatment of those wounded in clashes that have taken place in Yemen was driven by “humanitarian motives”, as he put it.
Yesterday evening, it was confirmed that Saudi Arabia had decided to treat all those injured in clashes that took place between supporters of President Saleh and Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of the Hashid tribe.
The Saudi source indicated that yesterday a private Saudi jet landed at Sana’a airport in order to transfer Yemeni President Saleh to Riyadh for treatment.
The source said that the delay on the Saudi side in announcing the arrival of Saleh to Saudi Arabia was a result of “the necessary security measures in such cases”.
In Sanaa, the Yemeni Foreign Minister Abu Bakr Abdullah al-Qirbi met with Ali bin Mohammed al-Hamdan, the Saudi Ambassador to Yemen. During this meeting, according to a statement issued by the Saudi Press Agency, the two officials reviewed the recent developments in Yemen, and the attack against the Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, members of his government, and those praying in the presidential mosque.
During the meeting between al-Qirbi and al-Hamdan, an agreement was completed to finalise the procedures of signing the Gulf initiative. The Saudi source confirmed that this meeting comes under the umbrella of the Gulf Cooperation Council, yet he would not confirm whether the two men specifically discussed the issue of President Saleh travelling to Saudi Arabia for treatment.