Yemeni protesters celebrated in the streets yesterday when they heard that Ali Abdullah Saleh had left the country, but the president’s departure may be short-lived. Saleh is feeling much better and will return from Saudi Arabia “in a few days,” an anonymous official tells the New York Times. The state-run news agency quotes Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi as saying much the same thing, according to MSNBC. Hadi said he had spoken with Saleh over the phone.
Meanwhile the cease-fire that took hold following Saleh’s departure at least partially broke down today, with regime supporters opening fire on opposition fighters, the AP reports. At least six people were killed in the clash. Many fear that Saleh’s return would reignite the fighting in earnest. The US is in tense negotiations with Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and other nations to seek a “peaceful transition,” one official says, likening the talks to “four-dimensional chess.” (Read more Ali Abdullah Saleh stories.)