Riyadh Agreement key to peace in Yemen: officials

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


A Yemeni man walks on an empty street in Aden, on April 26th, after the Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule in the south of the country. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Implementing the Riyadh Agreement is the key to establishing peace and preventing clashes between Yemeni forces and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in the country's southern provinces, Yemeni government officials said.

Yemen's Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hadhrami on Thursday (June 18th) stressed the need to implement the power-sharing agreement signed in Riyadh last November and to support Saudi Arabia's efforts in this regard.

His remarks came during a virtual meeting with British Minister of State for the Middle East and North Africa James Cleverly, who was conducting a series of video calls to discuss the political and humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Al-Hadhrami said the STC's legitimacy as a component of the political process in Yemen is linked to the extent of its implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.

If it continues with its "rebellion", it will have no legitimacy, he said, calling on the STC to back down on its declaration of self-rule.

Cleverly expressed his support for the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and for a return of security and stability to the provisional capital of Aden, and to Yemen as a whole in the near future.

He stressed that the only way to permanently end Yemen's suffering is with a comprehensive political solution, and urged the parties to swiftly agree to the proposals presented by the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.

New Saudi proposal

According to media reports, Saudi Arabia has presented a new proposal that seeks to push the Yemeni government and STC to implement the agreement.

The proposal calls for a ceasefire in Abyan province, and for the STC to rescind emergency rule and the self-administration declaration it announced April 26th.

After that, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi would appoint a governor and security chief for Aden, and choose a prime minister to form a new government with STC participation.

The STC would then withdraw its forces from Aden and re-deploy them to Abyan, according to the proposal, and the new government would be formed.

As the sponsor of the Riyadh Agreement, Saudi Arabia is responsible for ensuring its implementation, Yemen's Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez told Al-Mashareq.

"Saudi Arabia is also a safety valve and a guarantee for the successful implementation of the agreement to stop the military confrontations and establish security and stability in Aden and other provinces," he said.

Need to implement agreement

"The Yemeni government's stance is clear, as it seeks to implement the political and military aspects of the agreement," he said, noting that Hadi "has stressed the need to implement the Riyadh Agreement as per the schedule stipulated".

He accused the STC of delaying the implementation of the agreement "because it is trying to push ahead with the implementation of certain provisions and delay others".

"The STC's approach... is reminiscent of the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) and their manipulation of the implementation of signed agreements," he said.

He pointed to the challenges of implementing the Stockholm Agreement as an example of the difficulties of dealing with the Houthis.

"We need to expedite the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement to restore peace and stop violations on the ground in Aden and other provinces," he said.

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