Yemen to get new government in one month under Aden peace deal


Hadi to return soon to Aden from Saudi Arabia after power-sharing pact sealed with STC

Riyadh: Yemen will have a new government in one month under a peace pact signed the previous day by the country’s internationally recognised government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a senior official said in remarks published Wednesday.

Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister Salem Al Khanbashi and STC representative Nasser Al Khabji signed on Tuesday the power-sharing deal in Riyadh at a ceremony attended by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman; His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces; and Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The Saudi-brokered pact ends a months-long feud between the government and the STC and refocuses efforts on fighting Yemen’s Iran-allied Al Houthi militia.

“The Yemeni government will return to the interim capital within a week from the date of signing the Riyadh Agreement,” Al Khanbashi told Saudi newspaper Asharq Al Awsat.

“The new government will be formed within 30 days and will be sworn in by President Hadi,” he added.

“This agreement reflects unifying all political powers of the south with other powers to confront the common enemy: Al Houthi coup plotters,” Al Khanbashi said.

The Yemeni government and the STC are partners to a military coalition, co-led by Saudi Arabia and the UAE, fighting in Yemen against Al Houthis.

In August, clashes erupted between Yemeni forces and STC loyalists, triggering a rift in the anti-Al Houthi alliance.

Saudi Arabia hosted indirect talks between the two sides, resulting in the pact.

The deal, officially called the “Riyadh Agreement”, provides for forming a 24-strong government equally composed from Yemen’s southern and northern provinces, excluding Al Houthis.

It also provides for the return of the government to Yemen’s southern city of Aden, which the pro-STC forces seized from the government troops in August.

Aden became the seat of the Yemeni government after Al Houthi militiamen seized the capital Sana’a in a coup late 2014, plunging the impoverished country into a ruinous war.

“The Riyadh agreement represents a roadmap to unify Yemenis’ ranks and efforts, and restore stability to Aden,” Yemeni government spokesman Rajeh Badi said.

“We hope that everyone will join hands to adhere to this agreement and fold the page of differences to confront the biggest danger to Yemen represented in Al Houthi militias – Tehran’s arm in Yemen,” he added.

Hadi, who has been staying for months in Saudi Arabia, will “shortly” return to Aden, Badi told Saudi-owned television Al Arabiya.

Yemen has been in the grip of a devastating conflict since Al Houthis toppled Hadi’s government in September 2014. UN efforts to resolve the conflict, which has pushed impoverished Yemen to the brink of famine, have been stymied over Al Houthis’ recalcitrance and procrastination.

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