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Saleh vows to leave for US 'to help calm tensions in Yemen'

Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he would soon leave his country for the United States to help calm tensions in his country, as his forces recently opened fire on protesters in Sanaa, killing at least nine people.

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Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he would soon leave his country for the United States to help calm tensions in his country, as his forces recently opened fire on protesters in Sanaa, killing at least nine people.

The march, organised in capital Sanaa was held to protest a deal granting Saleh immunity from prosecution for the killing of protesters.

Hours after Saturday's killings, Saleh announced that he was leaving to "get out of sight and the media, to calm the atmosphere for the unity government to hold the presidential election."

He did not say when he was leaving, and noted that he would eventually return, to work as an "opposition figure."

The announcement seemed intended to defuse anger at the violence by his forces as well as pressure from some of his political rivals and foreign allies, who fear that Saleh has no intention of fading from the scene, The New York Times reports.

According to the report, Saleh's departure had been rumored for weeks,
amid speculation that he would seek medical treatment abroad for
injuries from a June bomb attack on his palace.

Meanwhile, some activists said that if Saleh did leave, they would demand the United States not grant him safe harbor.

"The Americans will have a lot to lose with the Yemenis. They have to hand him over," the paper quoted  Osamah Shamsan, a youth activist in Sana, as saying.

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