Yemen separatist STC rescinds self-rule as Saudi Arabia pushes to end feud

A Yemeni government soldier holds a weapon as he stands by an emblem of the STC at the headquarters of the separatist Southern Transitional Council in Ataq, Yemen August 27, 2019. (Reuters)

Yemen's southern separatists rescinded a declaration of self-rule on Wednesday and a new governor was appointed for the contested city of Aden, after a push by Saudi Arabia to reunite allies in a fight against Iran-aligned Houthi forces.

Read also: Yemen government, STC agree to resolution implementing Riyadh Agreement

Riyadh has been seeking since late year to end a conflict between southern separatists and the UN-recognized government, which has been based in Aden for five years after being driven from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis.

The government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) are the main Yemeni forces in an Arab-led anti-Houthi coalition. But the Yemeni allies have been in a standoff since last August when the STC took over Aden.

A power-sharing deal between them in November, called the “Riyadh agreement,” was never implemented. The STC declared self-rule in April and the two sides have been fighting in Aden and other southern regions.

Wednesday's developments were part of a new framework unveiled by Saudi Arabia to resolve the quarrel among the allies and implement their power-sharing deal.

STC spokesman Nizar Haitham said the group had rescinded its self-rule declaration and would work under the new framework.

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The framework calls for a new governor for Aden. Yemeni government news agency Sabanet said a new governor, Ahmed al-Amlas, was appointed on Wednesday. The agency also quoted a government official as welcoming the Saudi initiative.

Saudi Arabia's state news agency said Yemen's prime minister would now form a cabinet within 30 days, representing north and south Yemen equally and including STC representatives.

Military forces should leave the Aden governorate, forces in neighboring Abyan province should separate and return to previous positions, and a ceasefire agreed in June should continue, the Saudi announcement said.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 29 July 2020 KSA 15:25 - GMT 12:25
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