Despite government demands for its Closure: FSSG Elects al-Qufaish Chairman [Archives:2002/03/Local News]
Founders of the Forum of the Sons of the South Governorates (FSSG) ignored the government demands to bring the establishment of this regionalistic forum to a halt and elected colonel Ali al-Qufaish chairman of the FSSG.
Independent MPs, Faisal bin Shamlan and Saleh bin Fareed al-Ulaki also joined the Forum amid news reports about stark differences between groups loyal to former president Ali Nassir Mohammed and pro-president Ali Abdulah Saleh elements.
Well-informed sources told the Yemen Times the disagreement between president Saleh and his vice-president Abdurabu Mansur reached a critical point following the news about the participation of the latter in the establishment of the FSSG through the former Interior Minister, Hussein Arab and Fish Wealth Minister, Ahmed Mussaid Hussein.
President Saleh has earlier met with colonel al-Qufaish but reached no agreement, as president Saleh refused to deal with him as a representative of the southern governorates. However, president Saleh said he was ready to listen to his personal demands if he had any.
Surprisingly, bin Shamlan, head of the independent block at the parliament and former Minister of Oil joined the FSSG, although this Forum has been labeled as an entity for the dissidents from the Yemeni Socialist Party following the civil war of 1986.
President Saleh ordered in Ramadan the halt of demobilizing of roughly 20 thousand soldiers from the southern governorates in a move to ease the mounting tension between the tow sides. Similarly, Abdulqadir Bajamal described the formation of the Forum as inappropriate for protesting the ruling-out of some elements from the new government formation and advised them to adopt different measures to oppose it.
The differences between the president and his vice-president emerged after the declaration of the current government, as the later insisted on selecting the representatives of the southern governorates himself and refused the replacement of the Former Minister of Interior.