Saudi Coalition Urges Yemen Separatists to Honor Riyadh Deal

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—A Saudi-led coalition mired in a yearslong war in Yemen on April 27 urged Emirati-backed southern separatists to honor the terms of a Riyadh peace deal and share control of the port city of Aden with the countrys internationally recognized government.

The statement by Saudi Arabia comes after the separatists Southern Transitional Council again claimed sole control on

April 26 of Aden, a Red Sea port that serves as the seat of the internationally recognized government as Yemens Shiite rebels, known as Houthis, holds the countrys capital, Sanaa.

The councils decision adds yet more complexity to the grinding war in Yemen that has pushed the Arab worlds poorest nation to the brink of famine and killed over 100,000 people.

The Saudi statement urged the council to return to the terms of the November 2019 Riyadh agreement, which ended earlier fighting between the separatists and the government forces—ostensible allies in the war against the Houthis—after the council seized control of Aden just a few months earlier.

That deal had called for both sides to remove heavy military equipment from Yemeni cities under their control and form a unity government that included equal representation. But that deal had yet to be implemented as the war continued, massive floods struck Aden and Yemen faces the threat of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus pandemic and the COVID-19 illness it causes.

In its statement, the Saudi-led coalition urged the council to honor the deal “to unite Yemeni ranks, restore state institutions, and combat the scourge of terrorism.”

The deal “entails forming a competent government” that would operate out of Aden “to tackle economic and developmental challenges, in light of natural disasters such as floods, fears of the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, and work to provide services to the brotherly people of Yemen.”

The statement did not say what Saudi Arabia would do if the council refused. The kingdom, itself focused on the CCP virus outbreak, declared a unilateral cease-fire with the Houthis in April that was later extended through the holy Muslim month of Ramadan. But fighting has continued, with each side blaming the other for violations.

The Southern Transitional Council had been the on-the-ground allies of the United Arab Emirates, once Saudi Arabias main partner in the war that subsequently withdrew from the conflict. The councils backers often fly the flag of former Communist South Yemen and have pushed to again split the country into two like it was from 1967 to 1990.

Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter that his nation had “absolute confidence” in Saudi Arabias desire to formalize the power-sharing agreement.

“Frustration over delaying implementation of the agreement should not be a reason to unilaterally change the status quo,” he wrote.

The Yemeni Foreign Ministry on April 26 urged the transitional council to heed the coalitions statement, warning on Twitter that its “reckless” move “undermined not only the Riyadh agreement but the peace process in Yemen.”

The Houthis in 2014 overran major parts of northern Yemen, including Sanaa, pushing out the internationally recognized government. The Saudi-led coalition entered the conflict bRead More – Source