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S. YEMEN LEADER SEEKS HELP FROM ARAB STATES TO FREE ADEN

SHARE S. YEMEN LEADER SEEKS HELP FROM ARAB STATES TO FREE ADEN

The leader of southern secessionists has appealed to the Arab world to pressure the Yemeni government to lift its siege of the southern stronghold, Aden, a news agency reported Tuesday.

The plea by Ali Salem al-Beidh, carried by the Kuwait News Agency, was the latest and most desperate in a series of appeals from southern leaders asking fellow Arabs to try to rein in government forces.The appeal is likely to be viewed sympathetically by Saudi Arabia and other conservative gulf states, who viewed the united Yemen as a threat because of its experiments with democracy and its tilt toward Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein during the gulf crisis.

But these and other Arab countries have not officially recognized the secessionist leadership in Aden and are unlikely to publicly support the south.

The 4-year-old union of North and South Yemen collapsed in civil war in May after months of feuding between the leaders of both countries, who became leaders of the unified government. Thousands are believed to have died in the fighting, and cease-fire talks collapsed in Cairo on Monday.

Hundreds of people were killed or wounded in recent heavy shelling of Aden, Beidh was quoted as telling the Kuwait News Agency.

Government and southern forces fought artillery and air battles around the port city on Monday.