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article imageOp-Ed: Yemen STC separatists claim Ryadh agreement no longer binding

By Ken Hanly     Dec 3, 2019 in Politics
The primary southern separatist movement the Southern Transitional Council (STC) has withdrawn from the recently negotiated Riyadh agreement negotiated between the Hadi government with the support of Saudi Arabia and the STC with its UAE ally.
The Ryadh agreement
The UAE with their allies the STC had taken control of Aden in the south and some adjacent areas. The STC seeks a separate state in the south that is independent. This put the STC in direct conflict with the Hadi government and its Saudi supporters. The UAE and Saudis with the separatists were supposedly united against the Houthis who control much of the north of Yemen including the capital Sanaa. Hadi tried to establish a rival capital in the south. However, Hadi is still in exile in Saudi Arabia.
There were a number of provisions in the Ryadh agreement negotiated in early November:"A new cabinet of no more than 24 ministers, with 50% of portfolios held by STC and other southern movements. The STC would get two portfolios but President Hadi would keep key departments including interior and defense ministries, a Yemeni official said.The STC would be included in political negotiations to end the war. Placing all military forces under the defense ministry and security forces under the interior ministry. Forces deployed to the south since August return to their previous positions, while medium and heavy weapons in Aden are handed over under coalition supervision. Government and STC military forces leave Aden province within 30 days, with security inside the city overseen by Saudi Arabia’s military."
Hadi government has not carried out its obligations under the agreement
The Hadi government has largely failed to give the STC positions in its government. Top Hadi officials have disavowed the whole idea of sharing powers with what they call the STC "traitors"
STC claim agreement is no longer binding
As a result of the Hadi government's lack of action, the STC say they do not consider the agreement binding any longer. The group also issued a statement calling for South Yemen's independence and calling on the international community to recognize that independence.
Saudis having peace talks with the Houthis
There are secret peace talks going on behind-the-scenes between the Saudis and the Houthis.. The Hadi government is in no way involved apparently. The Saudis may be losing patience with Hadi and his supporters. It could be that the Saudis will reach peace deals with the Houthis that Hadi will reject but if he does so it is not clear he has the power to stop the Saudis, Houthis, UAE, and STC to coming to terms that simply leave him on the sidelines.
In a recent article I noted:... the Saudis may be anxious for a deal with the Houthis that could involve some sort of power-sharing elements as well. Even an agreement for free elections could reduce control of the Hadi government as its unpopularity in many places caused the Houthi rebellion in the first place."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Yemen Saudi relations, Yemen War, Mansur Hadi
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