Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called for “peaceful dialogue,” saying that is the way to end the country’s long-running political crisis, in an editorial published on Monday.
“We have never ceased to emphasise the necessity of a peaceful dialogue to find a solution to all these problems,” Saleh wrote in an editorial that was published in Al-Thawra and other official newspapers.
“I again invite all the political forces to return to reason and respond favourably to the call to dialogue from Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi to end the crisis,” Saleh wrote in the editorial, which was published a day after the anniversary of his accession to power in 1978.
Saleh also defended his rule, in particular citing “the realisation of the unity of Yemen” in 1990, when the north and south were united.
Protesters in Taez, Yemen’s second-largest city which has been a flashpoint of demonstrations against Saleh’s rule, on Sunday marked the anniversary of his rise to the presidency with a demonstration, waving black flags in mourning.
Saleh has since January faced protests calling for him to quit office, to which his security forces have responded with bloody attacks on demonstrators.
Some generals and military units have defected to the opposition and anti-regime tribesmen have battled military units loyal to Saleh in Sanaa, Taez and elsewhere.
Saleh has been in hospital in Saudi Arabia since early June receiving treatment for wounds sustained in a blast at his palace.
He appeared on television on July 7 for the first time since the attack, heavily bandaged.
Three days later, he was shown on television receiving John Brennan, US President Barack Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser. He was in better shape than in his earlier appearance, although burns were still visible on his face.
Deputy Information Minister Abdo al-Janadi said on Saturday that Saleh will return home “soon.”