STC: ONLY AN INCLUSIVE UN-LED POLITICAL SOLUTION TO ADDRESS SOUTH YEMEN CRISIS
[ADEN – 12 August 2019] On 10 August troops of the Yemeni government vacated the presidential palace in Aden. This followed negotiations between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the forces on the ground to de-escalate the fighting that had gripped Aden during the last four days. As our President Al-Zubaidi stated in his televised speech on 11 August, our aim since the beginning had been to restore stability and social peace following the coordinated, brutal and unjustified attacks using heavy weaponry against innocent civilians by the government troops and extremist militias encapsulated in those troops or closely linked to them. In response to the sustained acts of violence targeting the peaceful demonstrators in Aden too, the STC intervened to ensure the protection of civilians. On the eve of Eid al-Adha we welcomed an end to the fighting in Aden and the restoration of stability.
Events of the past days in Aden – and during the last several months around other Southern governorates – have been a stark reminder of the severe challenges we face in the South. The military escalation by government troops resulted in the tragic loss of civilian lives and only further compounded the humanitarian suffering of our people. As the STC have articulated in public and in private to our international allies, and UN Special Envoy Mr Martin Griffiths, the only solution to ensure the de-escalation holds and to secure a sustainable solution to the crisis, is a political one.
But this political solution requires a step change in the international approach we have witnessed to date. The facts on the ground have changed. This necessitates an acceptance by the international community of the new realities stemming from long-held grievances of the South and gross violations since the war of 1994 against the South. Therefore, we call for a much urgently needed diplomatic approach that takes this into consideration. All of the previous initiatives to have been short sighted and consciously ignored the South and the legitimate needs of our people.
Against this backdrop, the STC reaffirms its full commitment to the UN-led political track as a priority, and in this regard we welcome the efforts of our brothers in Saudi Arabia to initiate a genuine and constructive dialogue. We are prepared to participate in any kind of discussion that safeguards the needs of the South and ensures the STC’s direct role in the decision making process. As we have reiterated previously, the best way of securing a lasting political deal is through an inclusive political track under the auspices of the UN that ensures the inclusion of the Southern issue in the agenda of any future consultations.
For too long the South has faced a brutal marginalisation campaign. Since 1994 when Southerners were forced to remain in the Unity with the North, they have been killed, tortured, and forced to bear deliberate economic and humanitarian hardship, underpinned by a religious Fatwa that legitimise the suffering of the South. This campaign continued till now following the Houthi invasion of the South in 2015. But the events of 1 August and the subsequent killing of civilians in Aden by government troops crossed a point of no return.
The situation in Aden now offers a new opportunity for us to collectively get behind a credible political plan that is genuinely comprehensive and inclusive. The STC stands ready to play an active and constructive role in this way forward, and to legitimately represent the aspirations of our people and to give them the opportunity to determine their own future.
Foreign Affairs Department
Southern Transitional Council