The president of the exiled, internationally-recognised Yemeni government, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, has handed over presidential powers to a newly established council. The move is a bid to end the seven-year war in the country and support UN-led efforts to revive negotiations with the warring factions.
According to a televised statement by the 76-year-old Hadi earlier today, Vice President Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar was also dismissed, with his mandate also transferred to the Presidential Leadership Council.
"The newly established body will assume the duties of the president and his deputy and will be in charge of the country's political, security and military affairs during the transitional period," the pro-government Saba news agency reported.
The council will be chaired by General Rashad Al-Alimi, a former advisor of Hadi's. It will have seven members, including the president of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, Aidrous Al-Zubaidi, and the nephew of late President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Major General Tariq Saleh, who is commander of the National Resistance Forces.
Saudi Arabia, where the Hadi government has been based since 2015, a year after Yemen's capital Sanaa fell to Houthi and allied forces in the Yemen army, has welcomed the move. Riyadh and its coalition partner the UAE have also announced a $3 billion aid package to the Yemen government following Hadi's statement.
The formation of the council follows more than a week of talks held in Riyadh between Yemen's political factions. The Houthis, who are an integral part of the de-facto government based in Sanaa, were not participants.
Yemen is currently in the first week of a two-month nationwide truce, the first of its kind since 2016. UN Special Envoy Hans Grundberg explained in a press conference yesterday that the ceasefire which has led to a "significant reduction in violence" is eligible for renewal.
"However, there are reports of some hostile military activities, particularly around Marib," the envoy added. Factions on both sides of the conflict have accused the others of breaching the truce.