Arab coalition observers monitor Yemen truce

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Fighters loyal to the separatist Southern Transitional Council are pictured in Yemen's Abyan province on June 24th. The Arab coalition said it had deployed observers to monitor the ceasefire between Yemeni forces and the southern separatists. [AFP]

The Arab coalition's deployment of observers to monitor the newly declared ceasefire in Yemen's Abyan province between government and separatist forces is an important step in stabilising the situation, Yemeni politicians said.

It also shows the Arab coalition is serious about its commitment to implementing the power-sharing agreement signed in Riyadh in November between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), they said.

The Arab coalition on Wednesday (June 24th) announced it had started to deploy observers to monitor the ceasefire in Abyan and oversee the separation of forces, in line with the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement.

Saudi forces arrived the same day in Shaqra and Sheikh Salem in the southern province of Abyan, which had been the scene of clashes between Yemeni and STC forces that raged through Tuesday and into the night, AFP reported.

The move came after STC forces on Saturday seized control of Socotra island, and following an escalation in confrontations between the two sides in Abyan.

The Arab coalition on Monday announced that both the Yemeni government and the STC had responded positively to the call for a full ceasefire.

According to Yemen Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani, a delegation of Yemeni lawmakers travelled to Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the situation.

Among them was the parliament speaker, his deputies, advisors to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, heads of parliamentary blocs and leaders of political parties, he said.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Wednesday said there needed to be more pressure on all the parties to the conflict in order to ensure a positive outcome for Yemen.

His call came before a closed briefing to the UN Security Council by UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths.

'Sincere efforts' to stop confrontations

"The deployment of observers to monitor the ceasefire and separate between the forces is an important step in the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement," political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.

"It also demonstrates the Saudi-led Arab coalition's sincere efforts to stop the military confrontations that have weakened the legitimate government against the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah)," he said.

"Although both the government and STC welcomed the Saudi proposals for the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, there have been developments on the ground in some southern provinces," he said.

"Tensions have spiked between the two sides, but the deployment of observers will help identify the party that is hindering efforts to implement the Riyadh Agreement," he said.

"There are leaders in the legitimate government and STC who are trying to undermine efforts to unify ranks and stop these side battles, which only serve the Houthi agenda," he said.

Ali al-Sarari, an advisor to the Yemeni Prime Minister, told Al-Mashareq Saudi Arabia is playing an "honest and sincere" role in bringing an end to the bloodshed and establishing peace.

He called on military commanders on the ground to work seriously to uphold the ceasefire agreement and achieve peace.

Referring to the latest Saudi proposals for the implementation of Riyadh Agreement, he noted that "they have given a push to its implementation, and will help restore mutual trust and defuse the situation".

"The successful implementation of the agreement involves avoiding the spread of hatred, stopping calls for violence, and positively interacting with the Saudi efforts that encourage dialogue in order to restore peace," he added.

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