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Saudi-backed Yemen government and separatists miss Riyadh Agreement deadline

December 10, 2019 at 1:08 pm

Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, President of Yemen, 12 February 2018 [z_sattam/Twitter]

Exiled Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi’s government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) have failed to establish a power-sharing administration in line with the Riyadh Agreement, hampering any signs of peace in the troubled south of the country.

The accord, which was overseen by the Saudis, was signed on 5 November and stipulated the creation of a 24-member cabinet within 30 days, with equal representation from the north and south.

However, the month-long deadline of 5 December was “very ambitious,” Elisabeth Kendall, Yemen expert and senior research fellow at Oxford University, told AFP.

Yesterday, Hadi’s Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik returned to Aden from Riyadh with a number of military leaders from Hadi’s forces. Although both sides claim to be committed to adhering to the agreement, they have blamed each other for the failure in its implementation.

Last week it was reported that the STC had rejected the agreement and renewed calls for an independent South Yemen state, although officially this has been denied.

READ: Houthi-led army developing new defence systems

The contested port city of Aden has witnessed frequent violent clashes between militia aligned with Hadi, which is backed by Saudi Arabia, and the UAE-trained forces affiliated with the STC.

In August, Hadi was forced to flee the city after it was seized by the STC. Additionally, there has been a spate of assassinations in the city against security officials, with the council attributing these to the Saudi-backed government.

UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces [IlhameLouisaMar/Twitter]

UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces [IlhameLouisaMar/Twitter]

The Yemen Press Agency reported that observers have confirmed that “the security chaos in the city of Aden” leaves the southern provinces with an uncertain future especially with the military tensions between the STC and Hadi’s respective militias.

The council meanwhile stressed that no military personnel would be allowed into Aden before the appointment of a new security “governor or director” in the city, according to the agreement, which failed before it was implemented.

Mohammed Bawzeer, an Aden resident, told AFP there was an overwhelming feeling of disappointment in the city. “Deadlines have passed, and there is no change on the ground,” he said. “We just see things getting worse and worse.”

READ: South Yemen separatists reject Riyadh Agreement, resume call for independence

Read the terms of the Yemeni peace deal here