Sources: Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh to Depart for Oman, then USA this week

Jan 21, 2012 10:40am
ap ali abdullah saleh jef 111227 wblog Sources: Yemens Ali Abdullah Saleh to Depart for Oman, then USA this week

Mohammed Hamoud/AP Photo

The Obama administration is reluctantly allowing Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to enter the United States some time this week,  a U.S. official tells ABC News.

Saleh is expected to receive a U.S. visa on Saturday and will likely depart Yemen for neighboring Oman on Sunday, the official said. He is expected to arrive in the United States later in the week.

It is unclear how long Saleh would stay in the U.S., though the spokesman for the Yemeni embassy in Washington tweeted this morning that Saleh had no plans to relocate permanently outside of Yemen or to seek political asylum in the U.S.

The Associated Press reports he may go back to Oman.

A spokesman for the State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Saleh had applied for a U.S. visa weeks ago, citing a desire to seek medical treatment, but U.S. officials sat on it, trying to find somewhere else in the region that would accept him. They found no takers.

The AP quotes Yemeni officials saying Saleh plans to return to Yemen once his treatment is over.

Saleh has repeatedly balked after pledging to step aside last year.

Ultimately the U.S. official said the Obama administration determined it was better to get President Saleh out of Yemen, where he is viewed as a destabilizing figure as the country attempts to transition from decades under his rule, and to deal with any blowback from allowing him onto U.S. soil.

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