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Yemen government and southern separatists sign power sharing deal

October 25, 2019 at 3:06 pm

Yemenis attend a support rally for the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council [CGTNOfficial/Twitter]

The Saudi-backed Yemeni government signed a power-sharing deal with the Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatist movement yesterday in the Saudi capital Riyadh, following several weeks of impasse and uncertainty.

Sources familiar with the agreement said that a first draft has been signed which indicates a specific time to form the new government.

It is understood that Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi will nominate 24 members of the government equally split between the southern and northern provinces of the war-torn country.

The deal, over-seen by Saudi Arabia, would see the secessionist STC handed a number of ministries and the government return to the southern city of Aden as its interim capital, according to official sources and reports in Saudi media. It will be signed officially with the presence of Hadi and the head of the Aden-based STC Aidarous Zubaidi in two days in Riyadh.

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The UAE-backed Security Belt Forces, the armed wing of the STC, in August took control of Aden, which until then had served as a base of the Yemeni government who had been ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Houthi movement in 2014.

The leaders of the anti-Houthi coalition, Saudi and the UAE found themselves on opposing sides of the issue of southern secession which risked tearing the fragile state of Yemen apart again. The UAE has withdrawn many of its troops and handed key positions to the Saudis in an attempt to de-escalate tensions.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Yemeni prime minister is expected to fly to Aden in the next ten days to oversee the deal.

The situation on the ground paints a different picture however, with reports on Wednesday of Security Belt militia deploying snipers and armed groups in several strategic locations of Aden, in anticipation for possible clashes with Saudi and Sudanese forces, who have recently increased their presence in the contested port city.

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