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Yemen warns opposition against protests in wake of dialogue offer

2010-03-11 09:21 BJT

SANAA, March 10 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's ruling party warned the opposition and the separatist Southern Movement on Wednesday against waging anti-government protests, a day after the president called on southern separatists to engage in dialogue with the government.

The ruling General People's Congress warned the leadership of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) and the separatist movement in the south against organizing demonstrations, said a statement posted on the ruling party's website.

"We warn the leadership of the opposition JMP from going too far in instigating separatist tendencies and regionalism, fanaticism, in calling for violence and in playing with fire," read the statement.

The statement said the warning came after the JMP organized " protest activities that included acts of violence and aggression on public property in the southern province of al-Baidha today."

Southern Movement is a part of the Yemeni opposition Socialist Party, which is a member of the largest opposition JMP.

The statement gave no further details of the violence.

But state media reported on Tuesday that five gunmen in a car forced their way onto the premises of a government building late on Sunday and shot dead a soldier in an attack for which the Yemeni authorities blamed the separatists.

On Tuesday, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on active separatists in the south to engage in dialogue with the government in a bid to pacify secessionist sentiments.

Saleh accused the opposition of backing the Southern Movement and other "outlawed forces" that are acting against Yemen's security and stability.

Wednesday's statement made the same accusation against the opposition powers.

"No one in the homeland accepts the continued detriment calls from the leadership of the JMP to harm the security, stability, public peace and the national unity," said the statement.

The ruling party called on the opposition to stop tampering with the unity and national principles.

Northern and southern Yemen were unified in 1990 according to a deal between the People's General Congress and the Yemeni Socialist Party. However, the deal fell apart, leading to a crisis between the two allies, which developed into a two-month civil war in 1994.