Yemeni gov't demands withdrawal of separatist forces before Saudi-backed dialogue

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-15 01:59:42|Editor: yan
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ADEN, Yemen, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Saudi-backed Yemeni government on Wednesday set withdrawal of the forces belonging to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) as a precondition for starting dialogue under the auspices of Saudi Arabia.

According to a statement released by the Yemeni Foreign Ministry on Twitter, the government demanded complete withdrawal of the STC's forces from the military bases they have seized before talks.

The government welcomed Saudi Arabia's call to convene a meeting to end the consequences of the coup in Aden.

However, "the STC (must) leave the positions it occupied over the past days before any dialogue begins," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia has officially invited the Yemeni government and the STC to attend a meeting in the Saudi capital of Riyadh to resolve the issues through dialogue.

Yemeni President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who is self-exiled in Saudi Arabia, held a meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Sunday, a day after the STC forces seized the port city of Aden.

"King Salman affirmed that he stands by the side of Yemen and rejects whatever threatens Yemen's unity and social fabric, mainly the acts of the separatist council," said a statement released by Yemen's state-run Saba News Agency.

On Saturday, the Saudi-led coalition involved in a war in Yemen demanded an immediate cease-fire in Aden and threatened military steps against violators, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The coalition demanded that the military groups in Aden withdraw from areas they occupied in recent days and keep away from government and private property.

The Yemeni government held the STC and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a key partner of Saudi-led coalition, fully responsible for the consequences of the coup against the authorities in Aden.

The southern port city of Aden is almost entirely under the control of the STC forces that are also allied to the Saudi-led coalition in the fighting against the Houthi rebels.

Aden's fighting started when senior leaders of the STC accused the Saudi-backed Yemeni government of "backing Islamists and leaking information to the Iran-backed Houthis."

According to a statement by the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande, scores of civilians have been killed and wounded since Aug. 8 when fighting broke out in Aden.

"Preliminary reports indicate that as many as 40 people have been killed and 260 injured," the statement said.

Considered as Yemen's temporary capital, Aden is where the Saudi-backed Yemeni government has based itself since 2015.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern provinces including the capital Sanaa.