Yemen: Southern separatists adopt conciliatory tone after deadly fighting

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — After last week’s violence, al-Adha’s Muslim holiday seems to have calmed the spirits in southern Yemen, as separatist leader Aidarous al-Zoubaidi said he was ready to abide by a ceasefire. and participate in a peace meeting in Saudi Arabia.

No fighting has been reported in recent days in the large southern city of Aden, a scene of deadly clashes between separatist fighters and government forces, and Mr. Zoubaidi, president of the Southern Transition Council (STC, separatist), adopted a rather conciliatory tone Sunday night.

In a televised speech, he first claimed that the violence had been “provoked” by the government forces and that the separatist fighters then had “only two options: self-defense or the surrender and liquidation of our just cause. ”

The opposing side, he said, wanted to “implement a plan based on the assassination of our leaders”.

Separatists and government soldiers are, however, theoretically allies in a Saudi-led coalition that has been fighting Iran-backed Houthi rebels since 2015, who are masters of vast northern regions, including the capital Sanaa.

Earlier Sunday, Saudi Arabia had conducted an air strike in Aden without succeeding in driving out the separatist fighters from the barracks and the conquered presidential palace the day before.

– “Total opening” –

In his speech, Mr. Zoubaidi said he was “ready” to “work responsibly” with Ryad to “manage this crisis”.

While renewing the separatists’ “commitment” to maintain the ceasefire announced on Saturday night, he said his side was ready to “attend the meeting requested by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that in a spirit of total opening “.

For its part, the Yemeni government, very weakened, denounced in the first fights a “coup” and a “coup” separatists.

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, a refugee since 2015 in Saudi Arabia, was successively received Sunday by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi agency SPA said.

The fighting in Aden weakens the anti-Houthi coalition in Yemen: Saudi Arabia supports Hadi while the United Arab Emirates, the other pillar of this coalition, formed the “Cordon de sécurité”, a separatist force STC.

Visiting Saudi Arabia where he met with King Salman and the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, Abu Dhabi’s crown prince and emirate’s strongman, stressed “a shared concern about Yemen’s stability.”

He called for dialogue, “the only way to settle disputes between Yemenis,” according to UAE official Wam.

In July, the UAE authorities announced their intention to reduce their troops in Yemen, while stressing that Emirati soldiers were not leaving the country.

The UN has provided a record of 40 dead and 260 wounded, including many civilians, in the fighting in Aden that lasted several days.

Clinics have reported dozens of deaths and hundreds injured, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. “Hospitals are in trouble, without basic equipment, injured people are dying, checkpoints are preventing them from accessing clinics,” the organization said on Twitter.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has reported treating 119 wounded in 24 hours in one of its hospitals in Aden.

Due to the war between the Houthis and the anti-rebel camp, Yemen is already experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, according to the UN. Nearly 80% of the total population, or 24.1 million people, need assistance, according to the same source.

– “Preserve unity” –

South Yemen was an independent state until 1990. In the south there is still strong resentment against Yemenis from the north, accused of forcing the unification of the country by force.

This is not the first time separatists in the south have opposed units loyal to President Hadi. By January 2018, fighting between the two sides had killed at least 38 people.

But the circumstances of the outbreak of hostilities last Wednesday between separatists and government units remain unclear.


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