Yemen's former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has criticized the southerners' push for federalism and greater autonomy after his ruling party walked out of key reconciliation talks earlier this week.
Even though he was ousted as president following Yemen's 2011 uprising, Saleh still wields considerable influence over the country's affairs as head of the ruling party.
Saleh says the southerners' demands for a federal union between the country's north and south amounts to "treason" and is aimed at tearing Yemen apart. His party is suggesting a federal system with more units, which would divide the south into several parts.
Saleh spoke Saturday on his family-owned television channel Yemen Today.
Yemen's northern and southern regions were separate countries until unification in 1990, but a secessionist drive remains strong in the south.