UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — The internationally recognized Yemeni government on Wednesday refused to talk to southern separatists, but said it wanted a dialogue with the United Arab Emirates, the main backer of pro-secessionist forces, to resolve the crisis in southern Yemen.
“He did not and will not sit with the so-called transitional council at a dialogue table,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Ahmed al-Maisari said in a speech posted on the official website of the Interior Ministry on YouTube.
“If there is to be a dialogue, it will be with the brothers in the United Arab Emirates and under the supervision of the brothers in Saudi Arabia, as the UAE is the main and inherent party in the conflict between us and them, and the transitional council is only an interface and an essential tool for them.”
“We do not want to sit with the tools, we want to sit with the owner of the tools.”
The UAE has been a key member of the Saudi-led military alliance in Yemen since March 2015, supporting government forces against Houthi rebels close to Iran who have controlled large areas since 2014, including the capital Sanaa.
Since the beginning of August, however, a new front has been opened in the war between government forces and separatists demanding independence for southern Yemen. Separatists have taken control of Aden, the provisional capital of the government, and other nearby areas after battles with government forces.
The Yemeni government accuses the UAE of aiding the southern “security belt”, the military arm of the pro-independence Transitional Council, particularly by carrying out air strikes. In recent years, Abu Dhabi has been training and arming southern forces on a large scale.
On the other hand, the UAE denied the accusations made by the Yemeni government to support the movements of separatists, calling on the parties to the dispute to commit to participate in a dialogue called by Saudi Arabia to be held in Jeddah.
South Yemen was a separate state from the north until 1990. The emerging dispute over the status of the south could weaken the coalition team and the government in their conflict with the Houthis.
Since the start of the coalition’s operations in March 2015, the war has claimed some 10,000 lives and more than 56,000 wounded, according to the World Health Organization.
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