Supporters of a southern Yemeni separatist movement sent a letter to the Russian consulate in Aden yesterday asking for support as they attempt to secede from northern Yemen.
Members of the separatist movement recalled the strong relationship they previously had with the Russian Federation before 1990 in their appeal.
In their letter, the advisory board to the separatist movement said: "We strongly urge Russia to adopt the issue of southern Yemen as quickly as possible and we ask the United Nations to implement the charters that support the people's right to self-determination in our case."
It also called on the international community to come to the aid of Yemeni protestors who have been subjected to "violence and human rights violations by the regime". Demonstrations began last June when camps were set up in central Aden as a way of demanding secession from the north.
The letter to the Russian consulate called upon Russia to remember the strong relationship that was enjoyed by the two countries during the Cold War. Russia supported southern Yemeni separatist movements until unification with northern Yemen was achieved in 1990. Southern Yemeni demands for secession resurfaced in 2007; however, the movement quickly turned into a question of restoring stolen land and territory.
A national dialogue conference was held in January to discuss the shape of a new Yemeni state consisting of six provinces, four in the north and two in the south.
North Yemen and South Yemen merged to form a unified state 1990, but the differences between the leaders of the ruling coalition, coupled with southern complaints of marginalisation and exclusion, led to the declaration of a civil war that lasted for months in 1994.