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UAE-backed Yemen separatists declare support for Libyan warlord Haftar

Separatists seized key points in Aden on Saturday. [AFP]

Date of publication: 12 August, 2019

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The vice president of Yemen's Southern Transitional Council has said the separatists are willing to share their 'expertise and experience' with Libya's Haftar.
A Southern Yemeni separatist leader has declared the UAE-backed movement's support for rogue Libyan General Khalifa Haftar, a militiaman also supported by the UAE in a months-long offensive to seize the capital Tripoli from the country's UN-recognised government.

Hani ibn Breik, vice president of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), declared the council's support for Haftar and claimed the separatist movement was ready to share its "expertise and experience" with forces loyal to the general.

The UAE-backed STC on Saturday seized Yemeni military camps and the presidential palace in Yemen's second city Aden, taking control of much of the area from forces loyal to the internationally recognised government.

Emirati forces have since 2015 been involved in a Saudi-led coalition war, backing the government of Riyadh-based President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi against the Iran-linked Houthi rebels.

But the UAE's support for the separatists has sparked outcry from its neighbour and ally Saudi Arabia.

Ibn Breik also stated the STC and Haftar were facing a common enemy, the "terrorist militias supported by Qatar and Turkey".

"We are ready to… send them our expertise and experience with the same militias hidden under the veil of legitimacy - only the place has changed but the supporter, Qatar and Turkey, is the same," he said in a tweet.

Early on Sunday, Saudi Arabia conducted an airstrike against a separatist position in Aden and warned of further attacks if the separatists fail to withdraw from positions they seized in the city.

Later that day, both the Yemeni government and separatists said they backed Riyadh's call for dialogue and a suspension of the fighting, which threatened to deepen the country's humanitarian crisis.

South Yemen was an independent state until 1990. Strong resentment remains in the south among southerners towards northerners who they accuse of imposing national unification by force.

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