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Southern Yemen leader sees independence referendum soon

Yemeni soldiers march during a military parade in the southern port city of Aden,Yemen, on October 14, 2017, Saturday. (Reuters)
ADEN/DUBAI: Yemen’s former Aden governor, who has declared a council that seeks secession for southern Yemen, said late on Friday a referendum on independence would be announced soon.
Aidaroos Al-Zubaidi, who governed Yemen’s main southern city of Aden until he was sacked by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in April, made his announcement during an interview with a local news channel.
Al-Zubaidi announced on May 11 the new council formed by senior tribal, military and political figures. The council seeks the secession of southern Yemen and is looking to establish a political leadership under his presidency that would represent and administer the south.
The move threatens more turmoil in the impoverished country where the internationally recognized government is forced to sit in Aden because Houthi rebels control the capital Sanaa.
Hadi’s government has rejected the formation of the council, saying it would deepen divisions and play into the hands of the Houthi rebels.
Many southerners feel that officials in the north have exploited their resources and cut them off from jobs and influence.
‘Saleh stable’
Yemen’s ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh has had a successful operation at a Sanaa hospital after a Russian medical team was flown in to perform it, government sources said on Saturday.
The Russian team arrived in Sanaa two days ago and operated on Saleh on Friday for the wounds he sustained in an assassination attempt in 2011.
Saleh’s General People’s Congress Party said the procedure was successful, and that his condition was stable. He was severely wounded in an attack on the presidential palace in Sanaa in June 2011. He went to the US for treatment on one occasion, before a travel ban was imposed.
The UN Security Council imposed sanctions on Saleh in 2014, accusing him of threatening peace and obstructing Yemen’s political process, subjecting him to a global travel ban and an asset freeze.Saleh ruled Yemen for 34 years, but was forced from power after pro-democracy protests in 2012. Forming a surprise alliance with the Houthi movement when they seized Sanaa in 2014.

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