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UAE-backed STC says it is impossible for Yemen unity to exist

A fighter loyal to Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) holds the separatist flag in the southern Abyan province on 18 May, 2020 [NABIL HASAN/AFP via Getty Images]
A fighter loyal to Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) holds the separatist flag in the southern Abyan province on 18 May, 2020 [NABIL HASAN/AFP via Getty Images]

The UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) yesterday said it was impossible for Yemeni unity to continue going forward.

The comments were made by the chairman of the council's negotiation unit, Nasser Al-Khubaji, during a meeting at his residence in the Saudi capital Riyadh, with the German Charge d'Affaires, Jan Krauszer.

According to Al-Khubaji, the future and success of the political process depend on the recognition of the legitimate aspirations of the southern people, including the right to self-determination.

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Debriefer reported that the meeting discussed developments on the so-called Riyadh Agreement and its implementation, which was intended to broker a power sharing agreement between the internationally-recognised Yemeni government and the STC in the south.

Although Al-Khubaji reiterated the council's commitment to the agreement, which would see its forces withdraw from the southern port city of Aden, the STC leader, Aidarous Al-Zoubaidi, last week renewed calls for secession of the south from the north of the country in the absence of a "temporary or transient solution".

The city of Aden and some southern regions have been controlled by the STC forces since August 2019 and they seized Hadibo, the capital of Socotra island, in June following the withdrawal of Saudi forces from military checkpoints at the entrances to the city. STC forces regularly clash with militia fighting on behalf of the exiled Yemeni government in southern Yemen in spite of being part of the anti-Houthi alliance led by Saudi.

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