Interviews

Thu - 31 Oct 2019 - 07:11 PM ،،،

Okaz


 What took place yesterday was not mythology, but real facts, following the initial signing of the Riyadh Agreement, a day before the final signing ceremony between the Yemeni legitimacy and the Southern Transitional Council, under the auspices of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, Crown Prince Al-Amin and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, a Historical Agreement will be inaugurated.

I wanted to explore the heart of the loyal southerners who operate with the heart of one man, Commander Aidroos Al Zubeidi. I took the opportunity and spoke to him by phone. I asked permission to publish my interview with him in the "Okaz" Newspaper, to my delight he agreed.

I asked him directly, what are the most serious difficulties and challenges the Southern Transitional Council and Aidroos Al-Zubeidi personally faced during the process of the Jeddah dialogue, which led to signing the agreement?

He replied: "In fact, there is nothing to be described as "dangerous" but the challenges that we faced were, how to reach a common ground that would preserve what was confined in the Southern Transitional Council’s documentation.

As long as we agree to the aims of the Arab coalition and its Arab project in our country, we are never at odds with our political project and the aspirations of our people but some parties do not welcome the Saudi Arabian Kingdom's efforts."

My heart was pounding with joy, but fear leaked into my limbs, so I asked Commander Aidroos. How did you deal with the southerners who rejected dialogue and insisted on disengagement?

He replied: "Basically the STC’s project will go through many stages, which will take into account many political factors internal and external this requires wisdom and patience. We need to secure our people as we promised them on the first day.

I was not sure about the magnitude of the obstacles, so I went back to confirm and find out the truth of what the people in the street say. They say that the Reform Party works to disrupt the dialogue, is this true?

What is your plan with President Hadi to curb subversion and eliminate corruption, in the coming stages?

He replied: "There are many parties that are headed by the Muslim Brotherhood, that represent the Islah party, always try to thwart any political effort to solve the Southern issue; that comes in the context of their association with agendas which are hostile to the Arab coalition.

We are open to any efforts aimed at establishing security, stability and lifting the suffering of our people. The success of the Arab coalition is in curbing the Houthis who are supported by Iran, this is not contrary to the Southern peoples' cause ."

I am very impressed with Saudi Arabia's role in managing negotiations between the legitimacy and the STC, I asked Commander Aidroos, how do you evaluate Saudi Arabia’s ability to manage the direct and indirect negotiations and how do you describe them?
 
He replied: "There is no doubt that the Kingdom has great experience in managing negotiations, its leadership has always been known for its political wisdom and statesmanship. This is the first Arab-Arab initiative to sponsor peace efforts in the Arab and Islamic region, which enabled them to solve many issues and crises. They are considered a leading country that represents a reference to the Arab and Islamic worlds.

Our confidence in the leadership of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, represented by the custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, his Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Salman, Deputy and Minister Defence."
 
I completed my question and asked, "Did Saudi Arabia have difficulty with the legitimacy, especially in light of the differences between the parties over entering dialogue and reaching an agreement, did you authorize the Saudis to talk on your behalf or did you agree on the terms and if there were any , what were they ?

He replied: "Our confidence in the Arab coalition and the leaders of the Saudi Arabian Kingdom is great, we protected the success of the kingdom's efforts and maintained our national gains which are documented in our political project. When we speak about the Arab coalition we talk about the UAE as well.
 
I asked what is the role of the UAE at this stage?
 
"The UAE is a key member of the Arab coalition and the repositioning and proliferation comes within the framework of the Arab coalition arrangements, it has nothing to do with the dialogue that is sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Kingdom.

We in the STC with the support of the people of the South love and appreciate the UAE and we will not forget its efforts and sacrifices in our country."
 
There are agitations and claims that the UAE recuperated what done in the south. Although those are naive claims, people want to know the truth?
 
 He said: "The UAE has offered its sons lives and spilt their blood on our land, whoever sacrifices blood will not spare anything else. The UAE's sacrifices will always be present in the south, as well as all the construction and development projects."
 
I found the opportunity to ask about Al-Maisari, Jabwani, and others who announced that they defected, do you have a vision with President Hadi to deal with all dissidents, or do you have a special vision of your own?
 
He replied: "We are committed to the results of the dialogue that are sponsored by the Saudi Arabian Kingdom, which included the formation of a new government including excluding all the elements that caused the latest bloodshed and subversion."
 
The dialogue seemed to reach the essential points, so the question had to be asked: Where did you sign the Agreement and what were you thinking?
 
He replied: "The agreement doesn't contradict the documentation or the objectives of the STC but is a fundamental strategic step towards achieving these objectives. We will never override our legitimate national goals and our commitment to our people and their sacrifices."
 
I said, how confident are you of the ability of the legitimacy, not the president, of course, to continue to abide by the terms of the agreement of the Riyadh agreement and to what extent will it be implemented?
 
He replied: "There is a joint committee that consists of the STC and the legitimacy under the supervision of the coalition, it has to follow up on the implementation of the agreement and interprets its texts, as well as it will rely on honourable and national representatives within the legitimacy.
 
I thought about what follows the signing. I asked whether the focus would be on the new legitimate government, fighting corruption and re-establishing the army, or would it be to uproot the Iranian supported Houthis?
 
"Without any doubt, the success in implementing the agreement will have the greatest impact in achieving our ability to gain more victories and unite the efforts against the Houthis; that will not come without fighting corruption, uprooting it and addressing the causes of the failure. That is essential to pull the legitimacy away from the negative past.
 
Of course, all Yemenis and all Arabs are thinking about the future of Yemen, so I asked, what is the future of security under the Agreement, at least in the next five years?
 
A lot is expected from the signing of the agreement, it will serve as a road map to restore normality in the face of the Iranian agendas, it will also pave the way for comprehensive solutions based on the solution of the southern issue, which is accepted by the people of the South.

The Agreement will achieve the southerners' legitimate aspirations and objectives headed by the Southern Transitional Council.
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By Noura Almoteari & Mukhtar Alyafeii
Translated and edited by Sahar Noman