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On Sept. 7, Russian Ambassador to Yemen Vladimir Dedushkin told reporters that southern Yemen was an important region of the country that must be adequately represented in an eventual peace settlement.Russia's mediation offer was a direct response to a military assault from pro-Hadi forces against the STC's occupation of Aden, the capital of Yemen's internationally recognized government.Former commander-in-chief of the Russian navy Feliks Gromov called for the establishment of a Russian naval base near the Gulf of Aden's trade routes in August 2017, and Moscow's Institute of Oriental Studies described the island of Socotra as the ideal location for the construction of a Russian base in Yemen.As Russia maintains positive relations with a wide array of southern Yemeni factions such as the STC's affiliated Yemeni Socialist Party and the Southern Separatist Movement (Hirak) Moscow remains confident that one of these southern Yemeni factions will revive Saleh's basing proposal.The potential strategic benefits of its expanded influence in southern Yemen explain Russia's diplomatic efforts.If Russia can facilitate dialogue in southern Yemen and encourage the U.N. to give the STC's political wing a seat at the bargaining table, Russia will be able to become an important stakeholder in yet another major regional conflict.
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