The Saudi-backed Yemeni government has announced that it’s new interim capital will be the city of Ataq.
Since the Houthi expansion in the north of the country in 2014, the government of President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi has been expelled from two capital cities.
First the administrative capital of Sanaa and more recently, the port city of Aden last month, following a takeover by UAE-backed separatist the Southern Transitional Council (STC), leaving the Hadi government no choice but to base itself in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
“The government will temporarily run its work from Ataq until the liberation of Aden and Sanaa,” Yemen’s Minister of Transport, Saleh Al-Gabwani, said on Twitter.
أهنئ قائدنا الرئيس هادي وشعبنا العظيم بمناسبة الذكرى ٥٧ لثورة ٢٦ سبتمبر. نحن عائدون إلى أرض الوطن وسندير عملنا مؤقتاً من عتق حتى تحرير عدن ثم صنعاء. سيُفتتح المطار ليكون محطة دولية، وكذلك الميناء سنشتغل على بناءه من اللحظة. أمام شبوه فرصة لأن تصبح أكثر المحافظات أمناً وإزدهارا.
— Saleh Algabwani (@SAlgabwani) September 26, 2019
Ataq is the capital of the oil producing governorate of Shabwa, which has on occasions been partially controlled by Al-Qaeda. Although not a port city, it is located at a high-altitude of 1,146 metres.
However, it remains to be seen how secure the government will be, in light of clashes with separatist forces in the city and other areas of the governorate in August.
Although nominal allies in the coalition seeking to restore the Hadi government and push back the Houthis from the administrative capital Sanaa, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are at odds over the issue of southern secession.