Interviewed by Lebanese Al-Akhbar
Former Yemeni Vice-President Ali Salem Al-Beedh called on Qatar to propose an initiative for having an interview that involves southern and northern leaders.
When praising Iran as a country that plays an important role in the region, he denied receiving any aid from there; however, he welcomed any move from Iran in this regard and stressed that he will make any movement by Iran in public.
Al-Beedh referred to the role played by Qatar in Sa’ada governorate and accused the authorities of making Qatari efforts fail.
“There is no direct contact with Qatar, but if Doha sees it can propose an initiative for a meeting that involves south and north parties, we welcome this; we ask them to do this,” said Al-Beedh.
When asked about calls for Iran to provide support, Al-Beedh assured that they asked all capable parties to provide aid for helping treat injured people or take care of them.
He also confirmed their asking for political help from all competent parties to help resolve the problem, whether from Arab countries or Iran.
“Iran is a country existing in the region and it is capable to play a big role. It is a neighbor and supporter of Arab countries. It has helped Lebanon, Palestine and Hezbollah. No Arab country does what Iran did for support of Lebanon to stand in the face of Israel,” Al-Beedh added.
Al-Beedh further emphasized his call for any country – excluding Israel – to offer help.
“I would like to say that we have never received any help from Iran; however, we welcome such help and we will announce this to the public,” he stated. “The current financial support is made donations from our fellow people and expatriates, but there is no, whatsoever, support for the Southern movement.”
Concerning the attitudes of Gulf countries, Al-Beedh accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of terrifying these countries with issues linked with terrorism, Al-Qaeda, and piracy to blackmail them.
Trying to relieve the fears of Gulf countries against his calls for ceding south Yemen from the north, Al-Beedh said “We are well aware of such issues and we will never have our lands as a safe haven for terrorism and violence; the southern mobility is peaceful and has no connections with terrorism. Neighboring countries need not to be afraid from the Southern movement.”
“We tell Gulf countries, particulary Saudi Arabia, that we are committed to the agreements signed by Sana’a and Al-Riyadh even the border treaty,” he continued.
While stressing the continuity of the Southern Movement until reaching the desired goal lying in establishing the independent state in the south, he threatened “we are now within the peaceful movement and committed to it. With passage of time, we will impose our selves; however, this does not mean that the peaceful Southern Movement will never be a ceiling with no end. The practices of the authority could impose a new ceiling; people now have no choice because they do not want any tension in the region.”
Al-Beedh went on to say that “we are working right now to foil the regime’s power built on the tanks and air fighters and we resorted to the peaceful movement to protect and fend our people and stop the regime from killing them as it did in Sa’ada. Nevertheless, the regime targets the unarmed protestors.”
When asked about their demands from the Southern movement, Al-Beedh renewed his call for the disengagement.
“Our demand is the disengagement and returning things to what they were before the unity of 1990 in accordance with the Security Council resolutions numbered 924 and 931; the first one calls both unity signatories to commit themselves to dialogue to agree over the unity form and the next stresses that unity must not be made by force,” revealed Al-Beedh.
As to the Arab stance, Al-Beedh pointed out that he sent a letter to the Secretary General of the Arab League Amr Mousa and maintained that he has recently got a reply from Mousa with positive attitudes.
He continued that the issue of the south was discussed during the league’s ministerial meeting that involved the Arab foreign ministries, hinting this is recognition of the crisis. Though belittling the importance of this meeting, he declared that it opens a door of hope for the contribution by the Arab League to resolve the crisis.
At the international level, Al-Beedh noted that the attitudes have changed a lot and referred in this context to the European attitudes which no more insist on Yemen’s unity at any price.
Speaking about their future plans, Al-Beedh mentioned that they will submit a proposal to the Security Council during the few coming days, demanding the council to act in accordance with its former two resolutions.
He asserted that they have so far made a lot of consultations with legal and political personalities from Arab and foreign countries in order to raise the southern issue in accordance with these two resolutions.
Al-Beedh also revealed that they are working on setting up a fact finding committee whose task is to conduct a referendum in south Yemen about the unity’s version of 1994. The south Yemen people, according to Al-Beedh, are to be asked just one question: are you for the current situation or disengagement? He hinted that no country can stand against the will of southern people once they are for disengagement.
“We cannot hide our sympathy and support for the victims of Sana’a regime, whether Houthis or others. The war in Sa’ada is an intentional aggression by the authority,” who added that it is one of Saleh’s cards through which he blackmails the inside and outside parties.
He stated that Saleh failed to make any field wins and caused human disasters, calling for Arab and international efforts to face the negative consequences of Sa’ada war, stressing it comes close to what is in Darfur.