Yemeni separatists abandoned their declaration of self-rule in the south on Wednesday and pledged to implement a stalled Saudi-brokered peace deal, mending a rift between allies in the war against Huthi rebels.
The Southern Transitional Council proclaimed self-governance in April after accusing the government of failing to perform its duties and of ‘conspiring’ against the southern cause, pushing the war-ravaged country deeper into crisis.
The breakdown between the one-time allies had complicated a long and separate conflict between a Saudi-led military coalition and the Iran-allied rebels, who control much of the north, including the capital Sanaa.
The STC ‘announces that it is abandoning its self-rule declaration’ to allow the implementation of a power-sharing deal known as the Riyadh Agreement, spokesman Nizar Haitham wrote on Twitter.
He acknowledged the announcement came after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates exerted pressure to row back on their decision.
Saudi Arabia said it had proposed a plan to ‘accelerate’ the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, the official Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.
The plan calls for the Yemeni prime minister to form a new government within 30 days, as well as the appointment of a new governor and security director for second city Aden where the government had set up base.
‘Once this is implemented, the government should commence its work in Aden, and oversee the completion of the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement in accordance with all its clauses and tracks,’ SPA said, citing an unnamed Saudi official.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government welcomed the announcement, with spokesman Rajeh Badi expressing hope that this would be a ‘serious and true start’ to implementing the Riyadh Agreement.
Yemeni president Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, exiled in Riyadh, instructed prime minister Moeen Abdulmalik Saeed to form a new cabinet and announced the appointment of a new police commander and governor for Aden.
If it holds, the breakthrough should allow the Saudi-led coalition and its allies to refocus their energies on the war against their common foe — the Huthi rebels.
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