During his visit to Berlin yesterday [Oct. 4], Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi accused Iran of supporting southern Yemenis who seek secession. Meanwhile, five members of al-Qaeda were killed in a US drone strike on the southern governorate of Shabwa in Yemen.
After meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Hadi stated in an interview with Al-Hayat: “In the south, there are two movements: one peaceful and another violent. This violent movement uses weapons, receives support from Iran and seeks separation.”
“I am the president of Yemen and I come from the south. The prime minister of Yemen’s interim government, Mohammed Salem Basinduwa, is also from the south. We are calling for a comprehensive national dialogue to find a solution to the current situation. This type of situation is unacceptable in the 21st century,” he added.
Merkel met with Hadi for 15 minutes. Yemen’s foreign minister, Abu Bakr al-Qirbi, and the chargé d’affaires at the Embassy of Yemen in Germany, Jamal al-Aakbary, later joined Merkel and Hadi.
In a press conference held after the meeting, Merkel announced that she had come to an agreement with the Yemeni president “to start a new phase of German-Yemeni relations,” mainly in the development field. This collaboration includes promoting education and training, along with the provision of potable water and sewage services to citizens.
Merkel also pointed to numerous deficiencies that Yemeni-German cooperation on development efforts had suffered from in the past. She confirmed that “Yemen plays an important, strategic role within the Gulf region, in the fight against al-Qaeda and Somali pirates.” Moreover, Merkel stressed that her government was willing to provide all forms of support to Yemen. She also mentioned that — in her talks with the Yemeni president — she had discussed German-Yemeni cooperation and the necessity of implementing the required development projects. The German chancellor believed that “the Yemeni president will have to rise to difficult challenges and we will help him solve such issues.”
The Yemeni president confirmed that the first stage of the Gulf Initiative — the Yemeni presidential elections — had been executed. He also noted that now it was necessary “to form a national dialogue council prior to the end of the year. For five months, continuous dialogues must be held to discuss all issues, particularly the separatist movements in south Yemen and the Houthis. We strive to establish a new system of rule and amend the constitution. We are well on the way to good governance and a [peaceful] power transition.”
After Berlin, the Yemeni president flew to France where he was received by French President Francois Hollande.
Meanwhile, five members of the Islamist Ansar al-Sharia group — the military arm of al-Qaeda in Yemen — were killed. Local security sources told Al-Hayat that a US drone strike launched four rockets at two cars carrying eight gunmen from al-Qaeda. The attacks killed or injured all passengers. The injured and dead were not identified immediately.
According to medical sources, two injured men — one of whom was Egyptian — were admitted to a hospital in the region.
Late Wednesday night, unidentified men armed with hand grenades attacked the building of the local administration in al-Mualla Directorate in Aden governorate. The incident resulted in the injury of two soldiers. The security forces did manage, however, to defuse a bomb planted in the aforementioned building.
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