New Yemen peace talks ‘will protect people of the south,’ says Southern Transitional Council head

RIYADH: Protecting the rights of people in southern Yemen is a key aim of talks to end the country’s war, Yemen’s southern separatist leader told Arab News on Monday.

Maj. Gen. Aidarous Al-Zubaidi, president of the Southern Transitional Council and deputy head of Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council, said all the country’s leaders were closely cooperating with the Arab Coalition and were in full agreement with the coalition on a roadmap for the political process in Yemen.

Saudi officials have been in Sanaa since Sunday for talks with the Iran-backed Houthi militia, as part of newefforts to end Yemen’s nine-year conflict.

Saudi Arabia’s delegation, led by the Kingdom’s ambassador to Yemen, Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, met Mahdi Al-Mashat, head of the Houthis’ supreme political council. An Omani delegation is also taking part in the talks.

“The peace roadmap and negotiations that are due to take place over the coming days will shed light on all issues and concerns of the nation, foremost of which is the case of our people in the south,” Al-Zubaidi told Arab News.

The Southern Transitional Council was set up in May 2017, with the aim of a separation of southern Yemen from the rest of the country, as it was before 1990. Al-Zubaidi is a former governor of Aden, the southern capital.

The Presidential Leadership Council was established a year ago as the executive body of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.