Yemen may refer separatists to international court: president

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The Yemeni government could pursue separatist leaders at the International Criminal Court if they attempt to impede the political reconciliation process in the country, President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said Saturday.

"Any party, whether inside the country or abroad trying to hinder the political reconciliation process in Yemen, will be sued at the International Criminal Court in accordance with the United Nations resolutions," the state Saba news agency quoted Hadi as saying at a government meeting in Aden, Yemen's southern port city, a key stronghold of armed separatist groups.

"We will not allow anyone to harm the security and stability of Aden... and the money spent on anarchists and outlaws is dirty, aiming to destabilize the region and we will prosecute those who are behind it," Hadi said.

Aden has witnessed weeks-long deadly clashes between security forces and activists of the secessionist Southern Movement who insist the breakup of Yemen after 23 years of unity between the south and north.

At least one activist was killed and several others were wounded in fresh clashes on Saturday, bringing the death toll to more than 11 since confrontations erupted on Feb. 21, the first anniversary of Hadi's victory in the presidential election after Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced to step down as a result of the uprising in 2011.

Hadi began his visit to Aden on Feb. 23, the first trip since he took office last year, after clashes escalated in recent days.

He has called for separatist groups in Aden and other major southern cities to take part in a planned reconciliation national dialogue set for March 18, and has promised compensation and settlement to the southerners.

Separatist sentiment escalated after northern troops won a four- month civil war in 1994. Southerners complain of being economically and politically marginalized and discriminated against. Endi

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