Yemen government rejects southern autonomous council

The Yemeni government on Friday (May 12th) rejected a self-proclaimed autonomous body in the formerly independent south whose formation is seen as an open challenge to the president's authority, AFP reported.

An official statement issued after President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi met his advisors in the Saudi capital "categorically rejected" the South Transition Council, whose 26 members include the governors of five southern provinces and two government ministers.

The body was announced on Thursday by Aidarous al-Zoubeidi, the recently fired governor of the southern province of Aden.

"Such acts remain baseless and will never be accepted," the presidency statement said, adding that the move only served the Houthis (Ansarallah) who have been fighting Hadi's internationally recognised government.

The Houthis also rejected the new council, which spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam slammed as a "threat to the territorial unity of the Yemeni republic", and a part of a "colonial plot".

Hadi sacked al-Zoubeidi on April 27th along with cabinet minister Hani bin Breik. The two men, who played key roles in restoring security to Aden and adjacent provinces after the Houthis were pushed out in 2015, are believed to be close to southern independence activists.

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