Southern Yemen Caution That Barring from UN Peace Discussions Might Lead to New Combat
A separatist leader from south Yemen stated that a U.N.-orchestrated peace deal that was unsuccessful to address the south’s desire for self-determination would be “deadly” and could lead to a new battle.
In the war between the Iran-affiliated Houthi rebels and Yemen’s internationally acknowledged President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, southern forces form a part of a Saudi-led coalition conflicting with the Houthis.
As such, the south – where many long wanted to split from the north, is not a part of the peace discussions, which was orchestrated by U.N. negotiator Martin Griffiths as a party in its own right.
Ahmed Omar bin Fareed, a senior member of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), the southern separatist movement’s political body, told reporters that the south needs to be a part of the peace process in order to avert further battle if a deal does not satisfy their call/ request for self-determination.
Bin Fareed stated that they have two choices, such as start another battle against them and start another crisis, or accept the inclination of the people, and avoid any political crisis or unrest in the region.
Excluding the STC while discussion moves ahead on a new constitution, a national government and preparation for national elections would become a difficult thing.
Griffiths’ biggest development to date is the deal that was reached in December for a truce and troop pullout from the main port city of Hodeidah. However, it suffered many setbacks and the conflicting parties haven’t yet left the port.
Yemen’s internal splits have smoldered for years. North and South Yemen joined and became a single state in 1990, but when separatists tried to break away from the pro-union north in 1994, their forces were hastily beaten, and more power and resources flowed to the northern capital of Sanaa, which angered millions.
Bin Fareed, the STC’s chairman in the European Union, stated that the southern resistance had at first not been organized, but many civilians took up arms to fight the Houthis, and were later formed “security belt” forces and “elite” forces with assistance from the coalition.