Saudi Arabia has refused to meet with the newly formed UAE-backed "Southern Transitional Council" headed by Ali Aidarous Al-Zubaidi for the fourth day running, according to a report by Arabi21.
Saudi Arabia's refusal to meet with the secessionists comes following reports that Al-Zubaidi, a former governor in Aden fired by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, travelled to Saudi Arabia alongside another sacked minister of state Hani bin Breik – who is currently under investigation – after announcing the formation of the new Southern Transitional Council for diplomatic talks with the Arab monarchy.
The so-called Southern Transitional Council is a secessionist movement that seeks to breakaway from Yemen and declare an independent South Yemen that used to exist up until forces from North Yemen under ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh defeated the southern socialists and united the country in 1994.
Saudi Arabia is ignoring the two political representatives of the Council, as it is opposed to its formation. The oil-rich Arab monarchy considers that a united Yemen is better for the stability of the region, and is unwilling to back what many analysts deem to be a project spurred on by "allies of the UAE".
Saudi Arabia intervened in the Yemen civil war in 2015 in a bid to assist the internationally recognised government of President Hadi and support a unity government, with Sana'a as its capital. Saudi intends to not only support Hadi, but to reduce the threat posed to its southern borders by the Shia Houthi rebels, backed by regional rival Iran.