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article imageOp-Ed: Yemen summit to create a new government postponed indefinitely

By Ken Hanly     Aug 20, 2019 in Politics
A summit that was intended to form a new Yemeni government and was slated to take place in Saudi Arabia has not started and was postponed indefinitely.
Southern Separatists might have had representation in the new government
The present government of President Mansour Hadi is supported by the Saudis and is internationally recognized. The Saudis together with the UAE are fighting against Houthi rebels who control the north of the country including the capital Sanaa. However , the UAE support the Southern Transitional Council (STC). The STC also supports the battle with the Houthis who are supported by Iran but want to create a separate country South Yemen eventually. The Saudis wanted to shuffle around some of the top officials in the Yemen government and even planned to give the STC some representation in the new government.
STC seizure of Aden has put Saudi plans on hold
The STC seized the port of Aden and capital of the Saudi-supported Hadi government over a week ago. The STC has given back the Presidential Palace and government buildings but refused to give up the barracks it seized and remains in control of the port. The Saudis had been demanding the STC give up all the territory it seized before negotiations but that seems to be a non-starter. No doubt the STC wants to retain leverage it can use in any negotiations. However, the returning of the government buildings and Palace could be meant as a positive sign to encourage negotiation.
STC has vowed to take all of South Yemen
The STC hit headlines a week ago when it swiftly took over the port of Aden but it has now declared its plan to seize control of the entire southern region: "In a statement, the separatists declared the restoration of the "independent federal state of the south," is irreversible, according to local Yemen Monitor which verified the statement."
The STC has rejected the Saudi demand that Aden be returned to the Hadi government control since Aden will be the capital of South Yemen. However, they did return the government buildings they took to the Saudis. However, this appears not be to sufficient so far to result in negotiations with the Saudis. The situation is quite unstable and it is not clear what the next moves by either side will be.
A recent article indicates that the Saudis still want a full withdrawal from Aden before negotiations but it seems that they could be willing to sideline Hadi because he lacks support: “Forming a new government has been proposed and the alliance supports it, but inclusion of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) is linked to them fully withdrawing first,” said a Yemeni official, who declined to be named. The official said Hadi, who has no personal power base and has long been out of favor with the United Arab Emirates, a coalition member, may be sidelined if a new deputy is named. "
The appended video shows a large protest supporting separatists in Aden. Many are displaying flags of South Yemen not of Yemen itself.
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
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