U.S. Considering Saleh’s Request to Visit
The Obama administration is still reviewing Ali Abdullah Saleh‘s request to enter the country for medical treatment. Despite early claims that his request has been granted by the White House, State Department Spokesperson Mark Toner said “contrary to some reports that we’ve seen, that permission has not been granted yet.” Josh Earnest, the White House principal deputy press secretary noted “U.S. officials are continuing to consider President [Ali Abdullah] Saleh’s request to enter the country with the sole purpose of seeking medical treatment, but initial reports that permission has been granted are not true.”
The decision over whether to allow Saleh into the U.S. has sparked a vigorous debate within the Obama administration as some fear harsh criticism over admitting Saleh while pushing from a smooth transition in Yemen. There has been complex negotiations over Saleh’s visa as “Mr. Saleh’s visa request attest to the high stakes for the administration, which urgently wants to secure room for political progress in Yemen but does not want to allow Mr. Saleh to use a medical visit as a way to shore up his political position.” Despite the attention surrounding the ex-President, fighting broke out in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where at least 20 people were killed as the transition continues.