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Al-Zubaidi to a British newspaper: A reality must be accepted in which the STC runs southern Yemen

The planned talks on the future of #Yemen must be reconfigured to face a new reality in which the #Southern_Transitional_Council runs the #south_of_Yemen, while the #Houthis de-facto run the north of the country.
southern Yemen
Map showing the border between the south and the north in Yemen - Carnegie

Aidarous al-Zubaidi, head of the Southern Transitional Council and deputy head of Yemen's UN-recognised government, said the planned talks on Yemen's future must be reconfigured to face a new reality in which the Southern Transitional Council runs southern Yemen and the Houthis de facto run the north. This was revealed during an interview with Al-Zubaidi by the British Guardian newspaper.

It is worth noting that the administrative body of the Transitional Council's National Assembly has lately called for self-administration in Yemen's southern governorates, in what looks to be a forerunner to full independence.

In his interview with the Guardian, Al-Zubaidi emphasized that they will maintain the security of the region's sea lanes, follow international law, and hold a referendum on the restoration of the southern state that existed before 1990 when they were united with northern Yemen, which was also an independent country.

According to the Guardian, Zubaidi's current visit to the United Kingdom, which includes a speech at the Chatham House think tank and a meeting with Middle East Minister Tariq Ahmed, represents his most concerted effort yet to persuade the West that he and a separate state in southern Yemen can usher in an elusive peace.

It also said that Saudi Arabia is hesitant to welcome the Southern Transitional Council and is actively attempting to minimize its power in the big, oil-rich Hadramout province in the southeast. The newspaper appears to be referring to Saudi Arabia's recent approval of the establishment of an entity in Hadhramout known as the Hadramout National Council. It is worth noting that the Southerners had earlier expressed their concern over Riyadh's direct negotiations with the Houthis in Sana'a.

While the Hadramout National Council is seen as a gesture to end the conflict in Yemen by bringing together all stakeholders to avoid marginalization that could fuel future conflict, it is also seen as a parallel entity to the Southern Transitional Council; this contributes to strengthening negotiating positions from one point of view while creating tensions from another.

However, in an interview conducted by Al-Zubaidi at a seminar at "Chatham House," Al-Zubaidi confirms that the Transitional Council has adopted the option of dialogue with all the components in the south, and has begun the first stage with entities that believe in the inevitability of restoring the southern state and will continue the dialogue with the rest of the other forces, referring to Hadramout National Council.

Returning to the interview with the British publication, the Guardian stated that the West has thus far bet on an integrated Yemen in which the Houthis share power with the UN-recognized government. However, as numerous analyses and studies suggest, the Houthis and the legal government, are a long way from ruling a single Yemeni state.

The Houthi leader, Muhammad Ali al-Houthi, has previously stated that his group is willing to share power and resources with the Yemeni people, explaining that "we do not want to tyrannize anything," and that it is eager to talk to other Yemeni factions and work with them to achieve what is in their and "the public's" interest. These words are interpreted as a ruse to soothe Yemeni stakeholders.


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