Tensions have escalated in recent weeks following the capture of Socotra island – near strategic shipping lanes – by the STC [Stringer/Reuters]

Yemen’s president has called on southern separatists to “stop the bloodshed” and abide by a power-sharing agreement in his first public comments since the secessionists declared autonomy in April.

The conflict between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi constitutes a second front in Yemen, already split by a war between government loyalists and Houthi rebels.

The STC, which declared self-rule on April 26, has made a series of military gains, the latest this month when it seized the strategic Indian Ocean island of Socotra.

“I call on the so-called Southern Transitional Council

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