British government refuses to consider South Yemeni independence calls
ADEN – The recent statements by the British ambassador to Yemen, Michael Aron, regarding the attitude of his country’s government to Yemeni unity were reportedly disappointing to the so-called Southern Transition Council, which seeks the secession of South Yemen.
During an interview with Al-Jazeera TV Channel on Thursday, the ambassador stressed that Britain stands by the unity of Yemen, and does not support any move for the secession of southern Yemen from the union.
“Our position is firm and united towards Yemen and its unity. This trend is not something that is managed in a secret manner,” said Aron.
He pointed that he had told Aidarous al-Zubaidi, head of the Southern Transitional Council, about that during a previous meeting between them.
The ambassador also indicated at a proposal submitted to the United Nations regarding the participation of parties that adopt the separation issue during the Sweden negotiations. The United Nations has not confirmed this, however.
On the call for holding a referendum in southern Yemen on the unity of Yemen, Aron said that the political and economic conditions and the current unrest do not allow such a referendum.
Aron stressed that “the solution in Yemen is to stop the war and pursue a political solution.”
Earlier in last year, al-Zubaidi called for a referendum on the secession of the south, but to no avail. He expressed his displeasure at being excluded from the negotiations held in Sweden in last December, describing what had happened as disappointing.
It deserves mention that, although the United Kingdom officially supports the unity of Yemen, they have actively supported the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen since the start of the war in March 2015. British support to the invasion forces and the Saudi-backed Hadi government has ranged from weapon sales to intelligence cooperation with Saudi bombing raids on Yemen.