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Saudi, UAE issue joint call to end south Yemen fighting

By AFP - Sep 08,2019 - Last updated at Sep 08,2019

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia and the UAE on Sunday sought to dispel any notion of a rift over fighting in southern Yemen, renewing a call for dialogue between the warring sides.

Yemen’s Saudi-backed government was ousted last month from key areas in the south by United Arab Emirates-supported southern separatists, exposing simmering divisions that analysts say undermines the joint campaign against Iran-linked Houthi rebels.

But in a joint statement released by both countries’ state media, the Gulf powers sought to appear united, as they “reaffirmed continued support for the legitimate government of Yemen”.

The two countries called on the warring parties to immediately cease “all military operations” and “stop media propaganda” that fuels hostilities, the statement added.

Last month, fighting between the separatists and supporters of the government opened a new front in Yemen’s complex war.

The Security Belt Forces — dominated by the secessionist Southern Transitional Council — took control of the southern city of Aden, which has served as the government’s base since it was ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis in 2014.

The clashes between separatists and government forces, who for years fought on the same side against the Houthis, have raised fears that the country could break apart entirely.

Last week, Riyadh issued a warning to the Abu Dhabi-backed separatists, saying any attempt to destabilise Yemen amounted to a threat to the kingdom, while stressing there was “no alternative” to the government.

The coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015, as the Houthi rebels closed in on Aden, prompting President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee into Saudi exile.

The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and driven millions more to the brink of famine in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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