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UAE-backed south ‘reject’ northern military presence

Yemenis attend a support rally for the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council [CGTNOfficial/Twitter]

The Southern Separatist forces, backed by the United Arab Emirates, have launched a campaign to reject Yemen’s northern forces in southern Yemen, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced yesterday.

The Southern Separatist Forces launched a campaign to “reject the presence of any northern military forces in the south,” a demand which traces back to 1990 according to the STC. The STC claim that the position was clarified to the United Nations envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, who is attempting to bring peace to Yemen by negotiating with all parties to the conflict.

UAE-backed Southern Separatist Forces joined in a military alliance with President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi on the west coast of Yemen in December 2017. The objective was to retake the strategic port city of Hudaydah and the capital Sana’a from Houthi control. However, the UAE-backed political council has not said whether or not it will continue the alliance.

READ: Tribal leaders in Yemen request Saudi continue war

Last year, Hadi’s government clashed in Aden, southern Yemen with the UAE-backed southern separatist forces. Back in January this year, Hadi’s national army attempted to stop UAE-backed separatist forces from entering the city. After two days of fighting, the Southern Separatist forces declared victory over the Hadi government’s cabinet led by Prime Minister Ahmad Bin Dhager.

The Saudi-led coalition was invited to enter the Yemen civil war by President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in March 2015. Its main goals were to neutralise threats posed by the Houthi group emanating from northern Yemen. The UAE remains fixated with southern Yemen, even supporting the STC, which directly opposes Hadi’s government.

Tensions between both remain, but whether the UAE-backed STC will force Hadi out from Aden militarily is yet to be seen. The STC seeks to secede from northern Yemen, and declared independence from the Hadi government in May 2017 with the military, financial and political support of the UAE.

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