Riyadh Accord … new phase of partnership between Yemeni factions

ADEN, Signing the “Riyadh Accord” between the Legitimate Yemeni Government and the Southern Transitional Council is a step towards brining peace and stability to the war-torn country.

The two sides will enter a new phase of understanding and partnership in running the freed lands, under the supervision of the Saudi-led coalition to support legitimacy in Yemen.

The accord faced many challenges since Saudi’s call for signing the agreement on August 10, in the light of the extreme violence that Aden saw, before the proposal was welcomed by the clashing Yemeni parties.

In the same context, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik affirmed that Saudi Arabia, with all its political and military power, is fully backing his country to implement the accord’s articles.

Under the agreement, the first step is reinstating the legitimate government in the temporary capital Aden within seven days of the signing.

Moreover, the two sides are required to form a new government of 24 ministers equally from the south and the north within 30 days.

As for differences in controlling the security and military sectors, which were the base for the bloodshed and conflicts, the agreement states that the ministries of defense and interior are tasked with organizing these fields, as well as monitoring the use of heavy and medium-sized weapons, under the coalition’s supervision.

Since defeating Houthi militias in Aden in 2015, the city was announced by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi as a temporary capital, since the militias seized control over Sanaa. Aden saw a great deal of instability and violence affecting economy and living conditions in the city.

Afterwards, Hadi appointed Aidarus Al-Zoubaidi, who led battles against Houthis, as Aden’s governor.

Al-Zoubaidi formed a force called the “Security Belt”, which took control over every aspect in Aden. The force started causing trouble for citizens originating from north governorates, including deporting them from the city.

Such actions created tensions between Hadi and Al-Zoubaidi, leading the president to dismiss the governor from his position in April 2017 and appoint his as an ambassador in the foreign ministry.

Al-Zoubaidi did not accept being dismissed, gathering southern forces and forming the Southern Transitional Council in May 2017, calling for separation of the south.

The yemeni government, then led by former president Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr, started losing control over Aden and the council seized control over security and military sectors in the city.

The council accused Bin Daghr of being unable to provide appropriate services in the city and threatened to oust him by force.

In January 2018, the Security Belt clashed with the government’s forces that were tasked with protecting the presidential palace and other governmental bodies in the city.

The Security Belt forces took control over governmental bodies and were marching towards the palace when Saudi forces intervened and descalated the tension between the two sides.

In October 2018, president Hadi dismissed bin Daghr and appointed Maeen Abdulmalik as Prime Minister, while the government’s control remained limited.

On August 1, two violent attacks occurred in Aden with the first targeting a security center with a car bomb, killing 13 people. The attack was adopted by the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The second one was aimed at a military parade for the Security Belt Forces, killing 36 people and injuring dozens. Although Houthi militias announced responsibility for the attack, the transitional council accused the government of the incident.

The attacks escalated tension between the two clashing sides and the Security Belt forces deported even more citizens with northern origins. Clashes ended after three days with the council seizing control over all governmental military bases and bodies, including the presidential palace.

On August 10, the coalition called for an immediate seize of fire, while Saudi called on the parties to hold talks in Jeddah under the kingdom’s brokerage to end the conflict in Aden and unify stance to face the Houthi rebels.

However, the Security Belt continued controlling Abyan Governorate, marching towards the oil-rich Shabwah Governorate, southeast Yemen. The council’s army was then defeated by forces supporting the government, who advanced to the outskirts of Aden.

Meanwhile, the battles stopped as Saudi-brokered talks kicked off, coming out with the final form of the accord on 24 October, which was signed yesterday.

Hopes are high that the accord will end conflict and bloodshed in the country, and finally achieve unified stance between all Yemeni factions to create peace and stability.

Source: Kuwait News Agency