Interviews

Sun - 22 Jul 2018 - 11:06 PM ،،،


 The forming of the Southern Transitional Council in Yemen caused controversy both internally and externally. ... Sputnik had the opportunity to meet with the president of the (Southern Transitional Council) STC M After hundreds of thousands took to the capital Aden to delegate the leadership of the STC to carry the political profile of the Southern cause, and after more than a year since the formation of  its local assemblies and branches in addition to widening its approach, speculations on its relationship with the legitimate government and many questions arise Sputnik had the oppertunity to interview the President of the STC - The Southern Transitional Council  Maj. Gen  Aidros Al Zubaidi it went as follows:

Sputnik: Suddenly the Southern Transitional Council announced on the 11th May last year, soon after you left the post of Governor of Aden, do you think that the timing of the announcement was appropriate?

Al Zubaid: Before answering your question I would say that the idea of a Southern political leadership or a representative for the southern entity came before I left the  post of Governor of Aden, we have already announces it on October 2016. We worked on establishing the Southern Transitional Council since then to preserve the  national military and political achievements. The announcement of forming the Southern Transitional Council is a political decision to structure our political leadership’s framework to represent the South and it’s just cause. There were ongoing preparations besides technical committees and political performances to complement what has been achieved so far. We had to announce it to restore the sovereignty of our territory .

Sputnik: On the 21st May 2017 in a speech at a rally in Khormaksar which was broadcast to the masses, the STC promised to reclaim the Southern state pre-1990, what steps have you taken so far?

Al Zubaidi: We are talking about the goals ,which the people have supported us for, and put their trust in us to achieve them. Our aim is to regain our sovereign state within the system of a federation, our goal is to achieve a secure future. We will stand by our convictions and our rights achieve this goal.
As I said previously and arise by what I said that the formation of the STC came at a complicated period,there are different factors and divisions which all agree on that goal. Although the STC is facing a publicity war against it,the STC is able to deliver the southern voice.Referring to that many parties local or international have become aware that it is essential to respect the southerners political determination.
It is true that the STC is in its early stages of formation but it has succeeded in forming its national assembly ,its institutions and organizational structures.
I guess you have followed the first session of the National Assembly and previously you followed the announcement of the formation of the local councils,divisions and their various departments and institutions .The STC today works from various capitals and is in close contact with overseas governmental official and informal representatives .
There is no doubt that the formation of the STC itself is an ultimate achievement and is a major step on the ground which  represented a turning point between the two phases. Events have proved that the presence of the STC and its organizational procedures laid the foundations towards the elaboration of the constitutional rule of the future state through the National Assembly in addition to the internal and external political movement with the relevant authorities to push the dossier of the southern issue to the surface. This in itself is at the heart of our cause which conforms the will of the southern people for their independence.

Sputnik: What is your assessment of the popular consent after the STC’s founding period ?

Al Zubaidi: First, the greatest achievement is gaining the peoples authority,we are proud of those people and their ambitions therefore we have to continuously evaluate and reflect our performances in order to correct and to continue on the right path .
Second, the people are aware of the current unsettled phase and in spite of the continuous media campaigns against us,which aim to dismantle the peoples believes and redirect them towards the disruptive previous corrupt systems which ruled, they still support us. Therefore we know that we have a wide public acceptance.
The country is under great challenges, the greatest is the war which is still going on..We are partners with our brothers from the Arab Coalition who stand by us  to confront  and deter any threat to our national and regional security.

Sputnik: There are visible signs that there are cracks or the rise of political differences between members of the STC and some have announced that they are no longer part of the STC what is your take on that ?

Al Zubaidi: There are no cracks as you have mentioned , but if you mean that there are differences in opinions then that is natural and accepted and is a positive sign also it has its political value in the political process for the south whether in the present or the future ... We the STC have pledged that we shall operate in a democratic manor which serves the strategic goal as long as it does not  drive us away from serving the united southern front.

Sputnik: The south is going through a phase where there are various divisions as well as the war, what is the STC’s position in all that?

Al Zubaidi: In the south we do not talk about the ‘Projects in Conflict’, there are two projects in the South ; First is the independent southern state of the South, the peoples project lead by the STC. The second is returning to the Yemeni unification under the Yemeni Federal state, which is supported by factions in Sanaa and has some divisions in Aden who are trying to confuse the situation in the South initially by southern figures who represent of the Yemeni legitimacy who agree with Houthis, and claim to fight them at a time where they are only fighting the South and its project of independence.

Sputnik: You describe the Houthis as terrorists and coup militias however the world negotiates with them, while the STC which supports the legitimacy and has sacrificed a lot, is internationally ignored and perhaps regionally, how much of the truth is that ?

Al Zubaidi: Don't forget that the international community which called the world  to respond to the voice of peace, is the same community which is calling on war against the Houthis because they are coup conspirators and terrorists who have turned on everyone without a credible cause who came from the North into our villages and cities to kill us for no reason.
Our aim is to build a state and we are focusing on achieving this aim, therefore it is easy to be called as a terrorist or a coup conspirator because it is easy to avoid going into negotiations to fight for your cause. We are calling for development and stability based on common interests in the region and internationally.

Sputnik: The Emirates role is evident in the STC’s actions which gave many an excuse to describe the STC as the Emirati appendage in Yemen,as well as your constant travelling to the UAE, what do you say to them ?

Al Zubaidi: The UAE’s role is pivotal in the battle to liberate the South from the plague of Iran. The efforts of the Arab coalition led by KSA and UAE is a common one they have spilled their blood along with ours to liberate us from the Houthis, in addition our interests are safeguarding the region form that invasion .
This does not appeal to a lot of parties, so those parties cannot find any excuses except those mentioned above. The STC stresses that the Council is not part of any third party and will never be so.
We appreciate our relationship with the UAE and the Arab coalition it is a relation which enabled  our people to rebuild its military and security institutions, without  which they would have not been able to liberate themselves from the invaders.

Sputnik: Amnesty International said in a new report released Thursday, July 12, that justice is still elusive after reports about a network of secret prisons in South Yemen documenting the flagrant violations being committed systematically without accountability, including enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment amounting to war crimes. What procedures and steps does the council use to verify these statements?

Al Zubaidi: I think there's an international commission that came and monitored the situation,the commit ion reported on the issue away from exploiting political information. There are statements from the Arab coalition and from the deputy Interior Minister that denies such information. Without any doubt, in wartimes they may be many violations of civil rights worldwide. At a time and place where there are different factors and sides to the war, the STC seeks to guarantee those rights. At times not all what is said is true, as we all know that there are exterior parties seeking to undermine the Arab coalition and offend the military and humanitarian role politically and socially.

Sputnik: In all your speeches you talk about your agreements with the legitimacy and about your differences with Maj Ali Mohsen and the government, and you say that Alamliqa brigades and the Resistance Forces are supported by the legitimacy, who is the STC with ?

Al Zubaidi: The government is corrupt and all what is happening in Aden in lack of public services corruption and the deliberate and systematic torture of people is a crime and a clear and explicit way of blackmailing the publi, we only oppose those who commit such atrocities against the innocent people of the south .
The STC is with the masses and supports is right to live independently but that does not deny them the right to ally with the any coalition as long as that coalition does not jeopardise the sovereignty of the southern cause .

Sputnik: Why did you fail to attract and combine  the historical figures to the STC?

Al Zubaidi: We did not fail,our main aim is not only to attract the historical figures as much as to include them and to be inclusive of everyone, we are all southerners and we are all in the same boat therefore the historical figures and us have one aim and we at the STC do not have any animosity with anyone. We respect their positions and great attitudes and whether they were announced openly or not, their support one way or another is for the national cause.

Sputnik: The National Assembly held its first meeting days ago and talked about the draft constitution and laws and so on, what is the legal position of the National Assembly?

Al Zubaidi: The National Assembly is a national institution and wasestablished at a sensitive period in order to lay the foundations of the future of the Southern state. It is similar to any institution which contributes to present the proposing drafts and legal projects which rely on experts temporary, in preparation for a time when there is a popular referendum. The people are the source of authority they will elect the representatives or by direct referendum or a draft interim constitution which may be required at any particular political moment. We are going through the stages of transformation and transition like the rest of the world.

Sputnik: What is your position on the peace initiatives put forward by the UN Envoy?

Al Zubaidi: We welcome in principle the initiative to put an end to the war and wish for just and lasting peace. We informed the UN Envoy of our vision.

Sputnik: What if the war stopped and your cause was ignored ?

Al Zubaidi: The Arab coalition came to fight the coup conspirators and Iran in the area and will determine who stays and who leaves. The coalition said more than once that it would not interfere in how people will determine their future and our cause is what the people proved in the battle for freedom that it is an issue of self determination. So as we battled with the armed resistance and snatched victory we would be ready for a political battle with our vision which is established for the future.