UAE-backed southern Yemen leader hints at normalisation with Israel 'after independence'

UAE-backed southern Yemen leader hints at normalisation with Israel 'after independence'
The head of the UAE-backed STC, Adirous Al-Zubaidi, said normalisation with Israel would be on the agenda if the south achieves independence.
2 min read
04 February, 2021
The remarks were slammed by many [Getty]
The head of southern Yemen's UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), Aidrous Al-Zubaidi, signalled that an independent South Yemen would seek to normalise relations with Israel.

Al-Zubaidi told Russia Today that the STC would be ready to open an Israeli embassy in Aden following independence and that the transitional council is ready to proceed.

He described the recent normalisation deals between Israel and a number of Arab states - a trend that was led by the UAE - as "an ideal work" to achieve peace in the region.

Al-Zubaidi's comments caused an uproar in Yemen.

Mukhtar Al-Rahbi, an advisor to the Yemeni ministry of information, said that "the standpoint of all Yemenis reject normalisation with the Zionist entity", and that Al-Zubaidi's words are "abnormal".

The head of the Assembly of Southern Forces, Abdul Karim Al-Saadi, described Al-Zubaidi's statements as "catastrophic" and that it undermines the essence of southern sovereignty due to its alignment with UAE foreign policy.

Read also: How the odds were stacked against Yemen's Arab Spring revolution

He called on the Transitional Council to set priorities by "liberating the political and military decision from subordination to a regional powerhouse", referring to the UAE, before "considering normalisation".

In August, US President Donald Trump announced that the UAE had become the third Arab country and first Gulf Arab state to normalise ties with Israel, with Bahrain and Sudan following suit.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country is in talks with other Arab and Muslim leaders about normalising relations.

A poll published Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies (ACRPS) in early October showed that an overwhelming majority of 88 percent of Arabs reject normalisation with Israel.

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