US considering Yemen`s Saleh travel request

Saleh, set to stand down after a presidential election in February, said on Saturday he wanted to visit the US.

Last Updated: Dec 26, 2011, 22:19 PM IST

Honolulu (US): The United States is considering Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh`s request to visit, but would only grant him entry for "legitimate" medical
treatment, a senior US official said Monday.

Officials also said President Barack Obama`s top
anti-terror advisor John Brennan called Yemeni Vice President
Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi yesterday to urge "maximum restraint"
after forces backing Saleh killed 13 demonstrators.

Saleh, set to stand down after a presidential election in
February, said on Saturday he wanted to visit the United
States, though was not seeking treatment for wounds sustained
in an attack on his palace in June.

But a senior US official said today that Saleh`s office
had contacted the US embassy in Sanaa and said the president
did want to go to the United States to seek "specialised
medical treatment."

"The request for approval for President Saleh to travel
to the United States is currently under consideration," the
official said on condition of anonymity.

"The only reason that travel to the United States by
President Saleh would be approved would be for legitimate
medical treatment."

UN envoy Jamal Benomar said last week that Saleh, treated
in Saudi Arabia after June 3 explosion at his palace, needed
"important" medical treatment abroad.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon had
previously said that Saleh would visit New York for medical
treatment.

PTI