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'The Southern Movement has nothing to do with al Qaeda'

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2010-03-08

Yemen’s government in Sanaa is facing increasing discontent from South Yemen, due to discrimination and insufficient financial aid. France24.com meets Ali Salem al-Beidh, former president of South Yemen.

France24.com - For the last few months, the Southern Mobility Movement has regularly called on south Yemenis to participate and demand the seccession of their region. Why?
 
Ali Salem al-Beidh : We want a detachment of the South because the unification with the North in 1990 [South Yemen was an independent state before 1990] was made under the agreements. However, it is clear today that Sanaa has not complied with the terms. For three years, acts of oppression and barbarity perpetrated by the regime against the people of the South have multiplied.
 
 
The head of Al Qaeda in the Arabic Peninsula, Nasir al Wuhayshi, has brought his support to the secessionist demands of the southern Yemenis. Tareq al-Fadhli, the head of the Southern Mobility Movement, had in the past been a close lieutenant of Osama bin Laden. These dangerous relationships inevitably give credit to those who accuse him of collusion with terrorists ...
 
We have nothing to do with al Qaeda, we have never been in contact with this organization. Our movement rejects terrorism, which in contrast thrives in the north of the country. President Ali Abdallah Saleh uses al Qaeda to scare westerners and the United States.
 
 
Westerners fear that al Qaeda will take advantage of Yemen’s current instability to create a stronghold in the south, as in Somalia ...
 
The South does not welcome al Qaeda or any terrorist organization. The problem comes from the North. Here, no-one knows Nasir al-Wuhayshi. This name is known only to the authorities in Sanaa.  As for al-Fadhli, he was previously a member of the ruling party in Sanaa. When he joined us, he took a position worthy of citizens of the South.
 
 
Do you fully reject the principle of armed struggle to achieve your goal?
For the moment we favour total civil insurrection. But if the enemy compels us to use other means, we shall see.
 
 
So this possibility remains open...
 
I don’t have the authority to take such a decision, just as it wasn’t I who created the movement, even if I approved it and its leaders asked me to represent it abroad. For now, we call on all major countries to put pressure on the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh and his group so that they put an end to attacks on people's rights in the South.
 
 
What do Arab and western countries think of your battle ?
 
At the moment we’re increasing our contacts, hoping to be heard later. We want to make the world understand that our goal is to bring stability and security throughout the region and serve as a bridge between east and west.

 

Date created : 2010-03-08

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