A prominent leader in the pro-secessionist Southern Movement (SM), Tariq al-Fadhali, said he asked Yemeni former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to forgive him, revealing that they have had a good relationship. In an interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Ray published on Monday, al-Fadhali revealed that he as contacted Saleh after he peacefully surrendered power to Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and asked him for forgiveness.He further stressed that forgiveness is Saleh's nature, citing that Saleh has never killed his opponents in the south or in the far north."In spite of my disagreements with Saleh, I respect him because I know he is smart and powerful. When I watched him relinquish the power peacefully in a civil and modern manner, my respect yet more increased for him," said al-Fadhali.Peaceful transfer of power is something new in the region, and that has never happened in any place in the Arab world except in Lebanon. If Saleh wanted to play havoc, he would have done that as the Republican Guards, and most of the military was still loyal to him. But he decided not to destroy what he has accomplished, he continued.Speaking about post Saleh Yemen, he said regardless of my huge disputes with him on several issues during his rule, but I think the northern people would regret ousting him.Al-Fadhali was one of the biggest aides to Saleh for fifteen years, only to turn against him in 2009 and be an advocate leader for SM, which calls for outright independence from the north.He was a member of the anti-Soviet Mujahideen movement in Afghanistan, and is often described as the founder of the jihadist movement in Yemen. His new position provided momentum to the SM and its struggle for secession.