Saudi Arabia says UAE-backed separatists in Yemen threaten kingdom
Saudi Arabia has issued a strongly-worded warning to separatists in southern Yemen, saying that any “destabilizing” move by the UAE-backed militants in Aden amounts to a threat to the kingdom’s security.
The official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Thursday that Riyadh had issued the stern warning to its allied militants in south of Yemen as a rift in the Saudi-led coalition waging a war on the impoverished Arab country continues to deepen.
"The kingdom stresses that any attempt to destabilize Yemen is a threat to its security and stability... and will be dealt with decisively," the statement said.
It further urged the southern separatists to return all captured facilities to forces loyal to Saudi-allied ex-Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
“The Kingdom stresses the necessity of handing over military bases as well as government and civilian buildings to the legitimate government,” it said.
Riyadh has called for a summit meeting in the Red Sea port city of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to heal the rift.
Hadi's side has said it would not participate in a summit unless the separatist Southern Transitional Council hands back Aden.
“We will not sit with the so-called STC at the table,” the self-proclaimed interior minister of the former government, Ahmed al-Mayssari, said on Wednesday.
“If there must be dialogue it should be with the UAE ... it is the main party behind this conflict between us and the STC is only a political tool in their hands," he said.
Last week, Emirati warplanes pounded the positions of pro-Hadi forces in support of southern separatists, killing and injuring more than 300 troops in Aden and nearby Abyan province.
Both the UAE-sponsored separatists and the Saudi-backed pro-Hadi militants serve the Riyadh-led coalition and have been engaged, since 2015, in a bloody war on Yemen aimed at reinstating Hadi and crushing the popular Ansarullah Movement.
The former president resigned in 2014 and later fled to the Saudi capital.
Ties between the two sides have soured over a number of issues, including what the Yemenis view as Abu Dhabi’s intention to occupy Yemen’s strategic Socotra Island and gain dominance over the major waterways in the region.
The coalition has been struggling to defeat the popular Ansarullah Movement since 2015 but has so far failed to do so.