Sat - 18 Jan 2020 - 10:13 PM ،،،

 The second part of President of the Southern Transitional Council Aidroos Al Zubaidi's interview with Fajr

Fajr: Many say that the Southern Army left to liberate northern areas and it is not interested in liberating southern areas which are under Houthi control, as well as the Brotherhood controls Shabwa and Hadhramout.What do you say to them?
Al Zubaidi: Everyone agrees that we have to get the Brotherhood militias out of the south. They are the main enemy in the south because  they back Al-Qaeda and Isis. There is no place for the  Brotherhood in the future southern state. The southern forces are in Alfakher and the west coast to assist our brothers in the Yemen Arab Republic to overthrow the Iranian supported Houthi militias.They are a threat to Yemen and the region in general.
Fajr: Loud voices call against deploying southerners in the northern wars, what do you say to that?
Al Zubaidi: Yes, several battalions chose to stay on the southern boarders and others decided to fight with the northerners against the Iranian  Houthi militias.

Fajr: What about the international and western recognition of the south?
Al Zubaidi: I visited Russia and Britain before the Riyadh agreement. Russia had strong ties with the south and the Russians have great knowledge on the south when it was an independent state, pre-1990. Britain was in the south till its independence in 1967. Both countries support the south and have great influence in the security council. Now we have a good relationship with them both.

Fajr: Is the international situation better following the Riyadh Agreement?
Al Zubaidi: Yes, the STC is a legal partner and has the freedom of movement.

Fajr: On the topic of the war against terrorism, are Al-Qaeda and Isis out of the south?
Al Zubaidi: They still exist. The presence of the UAE is vital in the war against terrorism. After they left some terrorist elements started to reactivate themselves particularly in Abyan and Shabwa
Fajr: Is the presence of those elements in the legitimacy a cause for concern?
Al Zubaidi: The Islah party supports Al-Qaeda and Isis and they are represented in the government, the army, the security forces and the legislative system.
Fajr: Did you mention Islah's support to Al-Qaeda and Isis in the Riyadh Agreement?
Al Zubaidi: We talked about not accepting a partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood in the government, but the terms were implicit because time was limited at the Riyadh agreement
Fajr: How do you see the South-south dialogue, is it possible to include other southern components?
Al Zubaidi: For us, the dialogue is a fundamental principle if we have our independent state we will continue to talk with any southern component. That is the task of the National Assembly.

Fajr: Hadhramout produces 75% of the state's income and was oppressed during the former state rule, how will you compensate it?
Al Zubaidi: Hadramout is destined to be like the mother of southerners. It's oil and wealth and its land is the largest in the south therefore it was burdened to provide income for the whole of the south. The only compensation Hadhramout deserves is to call our future state Hadhramout.

Fajr: Did the Arab coalition fulfill the southerners desire?
Al Zubaidi: Their presence was a valuable opportunity for the southerners.  When the Houthi attacked the south the Arab coalition intervened and with their assistance, the southerners were able to be liberated. Now the south is steps away from its independence.
Fajr: What is your view on the Houthi -Brotherhood alliance?
Al Zubaidi: The Brotherhood felt that its end is imminent on the other hand the Houthi militias face economical difficulties although it receives international funds and humanitarian support.
There is an understanding between the Houthis and the Saudi Kingdom which is that the Houthis stop air attacks against the coalition and the coalition will stop firing missiles against them.

Fajr: What is your take on the Houthi targeting the south with its missiles?
Al Zubaidi: The Houthis indeed redirected their missiles from Saudi Arabia toward the south, therefore the war with the Houthis is crucial. We must get our independence and live peacefully with our international and regional neighbors. 

To be continued