Yemen's UAE-backed STC 'in secret talks with Israel': report

Yemen's UAE-backed STC 'in secret talks with Israel', report claims
2 min read
22 June, 2020
The Southern Transitional Council has been in secret talks with Israel, a report has claimed.
The STC is backed by the UAE [Getty]
Yemen's Southern Transitional Council (STC) has been in secret talks with Israel, a report published by Israel Today has alleged.

The UAE-backed group is allegedly holding secret meetings with the "new government in southern Yemen", the report noted, referring to the southern secessionist group that has in recent months declared self-independence.

“Surprisingly, at a recent press conference the STC expressed a positive attitude toward Israel, although the question of official diplomatic relations has yet to be discussed”, Aviel Schneider claimed in his article, published on Sunday.

Schneider quoted unidentified political sources as saying the STC are new friends of Israel in Yemen, where secret communication is taking place between the two sides.

Read also: UAE could strengthen Israel ties even after West Bank annexation, says Gargash

He alleged that a friend working at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport last January witnessed the arrival of non-Jewish Yemenis visiting Israel.

This growth in the Israeli secret contacts with the Arab world, he claimed, even if they took place behind the scenes, is ultimately a new sign that the neighbouring countries have started to witness “positive” changes in attitudes towards Israel, even if full normalisation has not officially been declared.

The UAE, STC’s main backer in the region, does not officially recognise Israel, in-line with Arab League protocol, but has in recent years established strong ties with the country. 

The UAE and Israel currently enjoy warm relations against the backdrop of their joint rivalry with Iran and hostility to Islamist groups in the region. UAE-flagged aircraft now fly directly to Israel, despite strong opposition from Palestinians and Arabs.

Last week, the Deputy Head of the STC Hani bin Breik claimed the Israeli government was infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood, who he accused of being "against the establishment of an independent Palestinian state".

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