Sunday Oct 24, 2021
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Yemen separatists abandon self-rule but peace deal doubts remain

Yemen’s southern separatists have pledged to abandon their aspirations for self-rule and implement a Saudi-brokered power-sharing agreement with the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The Southern Transitional Council’s (STC) announcement on Wednesday marked a big step towards closing a major front in Yemen’s chaotic war, and came hours after Saudi Arabia presented a plan to “accelerate” the stalled peace deal’s implementation.

Signed in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in November last year, the agreement set the stage for the end of a long-running rivalry between the Saudi-supported Hadi government and the UAE-backed southern separatists. Both sides are supposed allies in the Saudi-led military coalition’s war against Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who control the country’s capital, Sanaa.

The Riyadh agreement stipulated the formation of a new unity government within 30 days and the appointment of a new governor and security director for Aden, an STC stronghold and the interim seat of Hadi’s government.

It also specified, among others, the centralisation of all armed groups under government control.

But the deal was never implemented and in April, the separatists declared self-rule and seized control of Aden, a move that ignited fierce fighting across southern Yemen and the Socotra archipelago.

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