UAE-backed separatists and the internationally recognised Yemeni government are about to reach an agreement to end months of tension in the country’s interim capital, Aden, reported Reuters on Monday.
The city will be temporarily under the control of Saudi forces according to three sources quoted by Reuters.
Saudi Arabia, which is leading a war – with UAE support – against the Houthis in Yemen, has hosted indirect talks for a between the government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC).
The STC is part of the coalition that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to reinstate Hadi after the Houthis overthrew him from the capital Sanaa. However, separatists seeking autonomy in the south ousted Hadi’s government in August and seized Aden, i.e. the location of its temporary headquarters.
The UAE-armed and trained STC, Riyadh’s leading partner in the alliance, and tried to expand its control in the south. However, it clashed with government forces, threatening to further fragment Yemen and complicate the UN peace efforts.
Two officials in the Yemeni government told Reuters that Saudi Arabia had submitted a proposal to incorporate the STC in Hadi’s government. However, this would be on the condition of allowing Saudi forces to be deployed in Aden to oversee the formation of a neutral security force in the city.
A third source familiar with the talks said on Monday that “there is progress in the Jeddah talks. The dialogue is currently considering the issue of the inclusion of the STC in the government as well as easing the tension and redeploying the troops.”