Talk to Al Jazeera

Ali Salim el-Beidh: Separating South Yemen

The separatist leader says his goal is not secession but the restoration of an independent southern state.

Is it possible for a united Yemen to move towards a new future or will the forces that are advocating a division of the country win in the end?

Ali Salim el Beidh, the leader of the separatist movement in South Yemen, is the man now considered one of the most important figures in this respect.

He once held a top political position in the former South Yemen as general secretary of the Yemeni Socialist Party. And when Yemen united in 1990, Ali Salim el-Beidh became vice-president, serving alongside its new ruler, President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But in 1993, el-Beidh quit the government and returned to the former southern capital of Aden, claiming that the new government was ignoring the needs of the south, in particular its deep poverty.

His attempt to cede from the union failed at that point, forcing him to leave for Oman where he stayed for many years.

In 2009, he declared himself leader of Al Harak, the southern separatist movement, and called for the re-establishment of South Yemen.

And since the Yemeni President Ali Abdulah Saleh was forced out of office in November 2011, following massive protests and violence, el-Beidh’s efforts have only gathered steam.

On this episode of Talk to Al Jazeera, we speak to Ali Salim el Beidh, the leader of the movement to split Yemen who has managed to stay out of the media limelight – until now.

This episode of Talk to Al Jazeera can be seen on Al Jazeera English at the following times GMT:
Saturday, May 19: 0430
Sunday, May 20: 0830, 1930
Monday, May 21: 1430

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