Saudi Arabia issues warning over south Yemen turmoil

Saudi Arabia on Thursday (September 5th) issued a stern warning to Yemeni separatists who have seized key parts of the south, saying any attempt to destabilise Yemen amounted to a threat to the kingdom, AFP reported.

In its first strongly worded response to the crisis threatening to splinter Yemen, Riyadh demanded separatists return captured military and civilian facilities to the Yemeni government while renewing calls for dialogue.

"The kingdom stresses that any attempt to destabilise Yemen is a threat to its security and stability... and will be dealt with firmly," the Saudi Press Agency said.

"It also affirms its... position that there is no alternative to the legitimate government in Yemen and that it does not accept any attempts to create a new reality in Yemen by using force or the threat of force."

"Saudi Arabia... expresses its complete rejection of the recent escalation and... the failure to respond to its previous call to move towards dialogue," SPA said.

"The kingdom affirms... the need to restore the camps and headquarters of the military and civilian institutions of the legitimate government. The warring parties... must take part in dialogue in the kingdom immediately."

Yemen's government on Wednesday ruled out talks with separatists, saying it will talk only with their main backer, the UAE.

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