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Former South Yemen President To Continue to Call for Secession

In an interview with Al-Monitor, former South Yemen president Ali Salim al-Beidh discusses the nature of the Southern Movement, his position on the Gulf Initiative and relations with the US, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Supporters of Yemen's separatist Southern Movement hold up posters of former president of South Yemen Ali Salem al-Beidh during a rally in the southern port city of Aden January 27, 2013. The rally was held to call for the secession of Yemen's south. REUTERS/Yaser Hasan (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST) - RTR3D1UU
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Ali Salim al-Beidh, who was born in 1939, was the president of the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen (South Yemen) and the secretary general of the Yemeni Socialist Party that ruled from 1986 to 1990. It was Beidh who signed a unity agreement with the Yemen Arab Republic's (North Yemen) President Ali Abdullah Saleh, establishing the Republic of Yemen on May 22, 1990. On May 21, 1994, a war broke out between the two sides and ended on July 7 of the same year with the defeat of the south, as northern forces took control. On May 21, 2009, responding to calls from the Peaceful Southern Movement, Beidh announced his desire for a split between the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, which he represented given that he was president when the unity agreement was signed, and the Yemen Arab Republic. Al-Monitor's correspondent met with Beidh in his office in Beirut, and asked him about his demands for secession, his position on the establishment of a federal region, the national dialogue and relations with the Houthis, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Russia.

Al-Monitor:  Mr. President, what are the reasons behind your call today for the secession of southern Yemen from the north, after you chose to unify in 1990?

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