Yemen's government on Thursday held the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and southern separatists responsible for staging a "coup" in the interim capital Aden.
In a statement, the Yemeni Foreign Ministry called on the UAE to immediately stop supporting the "rebel groups," referring to Security Belt forces loyal to the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC).
The ministry asserted that the Saudi-led coalition -- of which the UAE is a member -- intervened in Yemen after President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi requested that Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz take action.
The request is based on international law and the UN Charter to protect Yemen from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebel group, said the ministry.
Following four days of fierce battles with legitimate government forces, Security Belt forces now control most state institutions, including the Maasheeq presidential palace in the temporary capital of Aden.
Meanwhile, the STC held a mass rally in Aden on Thursday to demonstrate its popular support following its recent military gains that came with the ultimate aim of overthrowing Hadi, who currently resides in the Saudi capital Riyadh.
In a statement, the STC called on the international community and the Saudi-led Arab coalition "to respect the will of the people of the south and their demand for independence."
The popular rally, the statement said, reiterated their mandate to STC head Aidarus al-Zoubaidi to establish "a state in the south."
Yemen has remained wracked by violence since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.
The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Sunni-Arab allies launched a massive air campaign aimed at rolling back Houthi gains in Yemen and supporting the country’s pro-Saudi government.
* Writing by Mahmoud Barakat
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