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Monday
Jan302012

Yemeni President in US for Medical Treatment

Marcel Mettelsiefen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Last year, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was nearly killed in an assassination attempt.

Over the weekend, he arrived in the U.S. for further medical treatment, a situation that doesn't please human rights activists who claim he deserves no special treatment for leading a repressive regime.

Saleh's arrival at an undisclosed location in the U.S. followed months of medical care in Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. decision to accept Saleh has made his enemies at home furious because they blame the president for hundreds of deaths resulting from last year's government crackdown on protesters.  Many want Saleh returned to Yemen to stand trial.

Washington's relationship with the outgoing president has been problematic since his autocratic regime was crucial in keeping al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in check.  The group has plotted several failed attacks on U.S. interests, including the attempted 2009 Christmas Day bombing of Detroit-bound plane.

Saleh plans to step down in February after an agreement with pro-democracy dissidents that will end his 33-year-long regime and hand over the reins of power to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Haid ahead of national elections to pick a successor.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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