Saudi Arabia has affirmed that its position on Yemen's national and regional unity, as well as its independence and sovereignty, remains "constant" in Saudi policy.
The comment came in a statement issued by a Saudi Foreign Ministry official and quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on Sunday, in order to clarify an earlier statement made by Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal in which the term "South Yemen" was used.
The source said that Al-Faisal's use of the term during a joint press conference with US Secretary of State John Kerry last Thursday – in which he referred to the transfer of the legitimate government of the Republic of Yemen to South Yemen – specifically meant the transfer of the legitimate government to the southern city of Aden following the Houthi's coup in the capital Sanaa.
The source said that the Saudi stance on Yemen's national and regional unity, independence and sovereignty remains constant in its policy. The source added that Saudi Arabia continues to call on Yemenis to preserve their national unity amidst the country's various social, religious and political factions and movements, and not to make any decisions that would dismantle the social fabric of Yemen and stir up internal strife.
Last Thursday, during the joint press conference with Kerry, Al-Faisal was asked about the role of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) towards of the Shiite Houthi group in Yemen. The Saudi foreign minister responded that the GCC states have taken various actions in this regard since "the Houthis seized the Yemeni government and detained the President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi."
He noted that the Gulf countries continue to emphasise the importance of legitimacy in Yemen, saying that it is the only way forward for the country's internal security. They are also happy with the presence of the Yemeni president in South Yemen and the statements he made from there, Al-Fasial added.
He explained that the Kingdom and the GCC states are in support of the Yemeni president's stance and his announcement of a meeting between Yemeni factions outside Yemen, probably in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi foreign minister also noted that there is an agreement at the international level on the rejection of the Houthi coup and their attempts to impose a de facto situation on the ground.
Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi arrived in Aden, south of Yemen, on 21 February after he fled the house arrest that was imposed on him in Sanaa by the Houthi militia who control the northern half of the country.
North and South Yemen were unified on 22 May 1990, followed by a four-year civil war during which the then-Vice President, Salem Al-Bayd (aided by Saudi Arabia) unilaterally announced secession.
The Southern Movement, which has demanded secession since 14 October 2014, has recently staged open sit-ins in Aden and Makla (the largest cities in Hadramount).