Hadi urges Yemenis to support embattled government against separatists

Hadi urges Yemenis to support embattled government against separatists
Yemen's Riyadh-based president has urged his people to back his embattled government against southern separatists.
2 min read
19 August, 2019
Government loyalists were ousted from their stronghold of Aden last week [Getty]
Yemen President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi on Monday urged his supporters to back his government against southern separatists who took control of his administration's de-facto capital of Aden.

Hadi's statements were made during the first high-level government meeting after fighters of the so-called Security Belt Forces last week ousted loyalists from what was the capital of the formerly independent south.

Yemen's vice-President Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, Prime Minister Moeen Abdulmalik Saeed, and both the ministers of interior and defence took part in the meeting in Riyadh.

Hadi has been based in the Saudi capital since fleeing Yemen in 2014, after Iran-aligned Houthi rebels ousted his government and took over the capital Sanaa.

Yemenis must "stand behind the legitimate leadership and its official state institutions and reject all destructive projects", Hadi was quoted by the official Saba news agency as saying. 

He also ordered his government to "continuously convene to deal with the repercussions of this rebellion", calling on the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) to withdraw from positions they have taken over. 

Southern separatists ousted government loyalists from Aden
last week [Getty]

Both the STC and government forces have been fighting the Houthi rebels in the years-long war that has pushed the country to the brink of famine, however, also remain at odds with each other.

On Monday, the spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition backing the Yemen government against the rebels, Turki al-Maliki, said Saudi Arabia and the UAE "succeeded in calming the situation in Aden". 

South Yemen was a separate state until it merged with the north in 1990. Four years later, an armed secession bid ended in occupation by northern forces, giving rise to resentments which persists to this day.

The Saudi-led military coalition, which has backed pro-government forces against the Houthi rebels since 2015, sent a delegation to the city on Thursday to discuss the new front in the crisis.

Analysts say the break between Hadi's internationally recognised government and the separatists reflects a wider rift between Riyadh and Abu Dhabi that threatens to undermine their common battle against the Houthis.