US May Allow Saleh to Come ... Here
But only if he's seeking 'legitimate' medical treatment
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2011 7:34 AM CST
Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh speaks to reporters during a press conference at the Presidential Palace in Sanaa, Yemen, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011.   (AP Photo/Mohammed Hamoud)

(Newser) – After nine protesters were killed in Yemen on Saturday, outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh pledged to leave the country to "calm the atmosphere for the unity government to hold the presidential election" scheduled for February ... and said he would head to the US. And Reuters reports that the US is considering his request. Saleh would be permitted to enter the country only if he were seeking "legitimate" medical treatment, a White House official said today.

The official explains that Saleh's reps recently told the US embassy in Sanaa that Saleh would like to be further treated for the injuries he suffered in June when a rocket strike hit the presidential palace. Of course, Saleh sang a slightly different tune on Saturday, saying, "I will go to the United States. Not for treatment, because I'm fine, but to get away from attention, cameras, and allow the unity government to prepare properly for elections. I'll be there for several days, but I'll return because I won't leave my people and comrades who have been steadfast for 11 months." Bloomberg notes that tens of thousands are rallying in Sanaa today, demanding that Saleh—who was given immunity when he agreed last month to give up power—be prosecuted for the deaths of more than 1,000 people killed since the uprising began.