YEMEN

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), which declared self-rule in southern Yemen last week, exploited the crisis in Aden “to continue the revolt against the state”, Yemen’s foreign minister said on Friday.

Mohammad al-Hadhrami, in a phone conversation with EU External Action Service Secretary General Helga Schmid, said the UAE-backed separatist STC has no vision and is tied to foreign powers, Yemen’s official news agency Saba reported.

He said the STC has embarked on an “unknown adventure” that could have severe consequences for Yemen.

“If the STC continues this adventure, the troubles in the country will increase even more,” he said.

Last week, the STC declared self-governance and a state of emergency in temporary capital Aden and southern provinces.

The Yemeni government and five provinces – Hadhramaut, Shabwa, al-Mahra, Abyan, and the administration of Socotra – have rejected the STC’s move, which has also drawn widespread international criticism.

Yemen has been devastated by a conflict that escalated in March 2015 after Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa, and forced President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

Over five years of conflict have left thousands of civilians dead and 3.65 million internally displaced, according to the UN.

The impact on the country’s infrastructure has also been devastating, with major overland routes and airports severely damaged.

Nearly half of Yemen’s over 30 million people are in need of immediate assistance to sustain or save their lives.

The World Food Programme says that despite ongoing humanitarian assistance, at least 15.9 million people wake up hungry every day.

It is estimated that, in the absence of food assistance, this number would go up to 20 million.

* Writing by Fahri Aksut

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