Southern Yemeni leader forms new parliamentary body

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-15 03:56:19|Editor: yan
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ADEN, Yemen, Oct. 14 (Xinhua) -- The leader of the southern transitional council announced on Saturday to establish a new parliamentary body to administer the southern part of the country.

Major General Aidarous Zubaidi, a former governor of Aden and a strong ally of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), delivered a speech in Aden to celebrate the 54th anniversary of the revolution against the British occupation of southern Yemen on Oct. 14, 1963.

Zubaidi vowed during his speech to confront the Saudi-backed Yemeni government with ground escalation.

He also announced the formation of the "National General Assembly" made up of 303 members, which he claimed would represent all southern provinces.

The new parliament would also prepare for an upcoming independence referendum in the region, he added.

Describing the Saudi-backed Yemeni government as "corrupt," the UAE-backed leader ruled out any possibility of partnership with the Aden-based government.

Zubaidi also accused Qatar of supporting extremism and terrorism through financing the Muslim Brotherhood group in Aden and elsewhere in southern Yemen.

Meanwhile, military leaders in the southern Yemen reiterated their commitment to continuing to support the Saudi-led Arab coalition in the war against Houthis and the extremist groups.

Political leaders allied the Yemeni government criticized Zubaidi's announcement, calling the move a "new coup" against the Saudi-led coalition.

According to local observers, the announcement will create more chaos and turmoil in the impoverished Arab country that would hinder the pursuit of a permanent solution to the current political crisis.

Earlier in the day, southern troops opened fire towards the motorcade of the Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid Bin-Daghr while he was on his way to attend a military parade at an army base in Aden's district of Salahdeen.

The bodyguards of the Yemeni prime minister responded to the shooting that resulted in no casualties, according to local military sources.

In May, Zubaidi declared in a speech that the council consisted of 26 southern senior tribal, military and political leaders including former cabinet minister Hani Bin Brurik.

However, the Yemeni government at that time rejected the formation of new "transitional political council" that seeks the independence of southern Yemen.

Yemen's President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose government is internationally recognized, has been based in Riyadh since March 2015, when the Shiite Houthis forced him out after seizing the capital Sanaa.

Hadi sacked Zubaidi on April 27 along with Brurik, which provoked thousands of southern Yemenis to demonstrate in Aden to urge for the establishment of a new leadership body to represent the south in the upcoming peace talks facilitated by the United Nations.

Yemen has been suffering from a civil war for around two years. The civil war began after the Houthi militants with the support of forces loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh ousted the UN-backed transitional government and occupied the capital Sanaa militarily in September 2014.

The legitimate government controls the south and some eastern parts, while the Houthi-Saleh alliance controls the remaining northern areas including Sanaa.

UN statistics show more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the coalition intervened in the Yemeni civil war that also displaced around 3 million.

The impoverished Arab country is also suffering the world's largest cholera epidemic since April, with about 5,000 cases reported every day.