Yemeni FM Says Ali Salem al-Baid Living in Beirut under Hizbullah Protection

Yemeni Foreign Minister Abubaker al-Qirbi said on Wednesday that the exiled former South Yemeni president is living in Beirut under the protection of Hizbullah.

Qirbi's comments came as he was criticizing Ali Salem al-Baid in an interview in pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper.

“Al-Baid receives backing from Iran and Hizbullah,” Qirbi said.

He added: “He lives in Beirut under Hizbullah protection.”

U.S. envoy to Sanaa Gerald Feierstein had told Al-Hayat in March 2012 that the United States believes Hizbullah and Hamas are helping Iran to expand its influence in Yemen at the expense of the country's Gulf neighbors.

Baid, the last president of the region before union and a member of the Southern Movement is opposed to national talks that began in Sanaa on March 18 and still campaigns for southern independence.

Hardliners led by Baid are demanding negotiations between two independent states in the north and south.

Supporters of southern independence often stage demonstrations against the national dialogue, especially in Aden.

After the former North and South Yemen united in 1990, the south broke away in 1994, triggering a short-lived civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops.

Source: Agence France Presse, Naharnet

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