A senior official of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) threatened on Thursday to prevent the Yemeni government and parliament from meeting in the south of the country. Ahmed Bin Brik of the separatist STC's National Assembly made his threat on Twitter, and called members of the internationally-recognised government "the dwarves who sold Ma'rib and want to legitimise their presence in the south."
The Yemeni government has been in exile in Riyadh and operating in Yemeni governorates such as Hadhramout and Shabwa, due to escalating tension with the STC in the interim capital, Aden.
Consultations between the government and the STC were launched weeks ago in the Saudi capital with the aim of ending the tension between the two parties and implementing the Riyadh Agreement. The agreement was signed under the auspices of the Kingdom with UN support on 5 November, 2019 in an effort to resolve the differences between the legitimate government and the STC.
One of the main provisions of the agreement is to form a government split 50-50 between the north and the south in which the STC will take part. This was formed on 18 December. Military confrontations around the country also need to be resolved by the agreement.
No significant progress has been made on the latter, though, not least the integration of the Yemen army and STC forces under the leadership of the ministries of interior and defence. The STC's security and military forces have been controlling Aden since August 2019, as well as other southern areas. The lack of a military agreement has hindered the government's attempts to operate in Aden.