Politics

Yemen calls for end to southern self-administration

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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Yemen's Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hadhrami attends a meeting of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation in Jeddah on February 3rd. [Amer Hilabi/AFP]

Yemen's government has once again called on the Southern Transitional Council (STC) to back down on its declaration of self-administration and restore the status quo on Socotra island, which the separatists seized last month.

This must be done to ensure the success of the Riyadh Agreement, Yemen's Foreign Minister said during a Sunday (July 26th) meeting with the ambassadors of the UN Security Council's five permanent member states.

Speaking on behalf of the Yemeni government, Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hadhrami stressed the need for the STC to conclude its self-administration of the south, stop escalation and restore the situation to normal on Socotra island.

The STC on April 26th declared the autonomy of the country's south, after accusing the government of failing to provide services.

The ambassadors stressed the need to implement the power-sharing agreement signed in November in Riyadh, and expressed hope that progress can be made in the ongoing negotiations in this regard.

Meanwhile, consultations are under way in Riyadh regarding a mechanism that both sides can accept for the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.

"The Yemeni government confirmed the Riyadh Agreement was signed to ensure the state can control all liberated areas, and that all parties can take part in running the state," said Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez.

"The aim is to unify political and military efforts, focus on the liberation of the provinces that are still controlled by the Houthis (Ansarallah), and restore state institutions," he said.

"Serious consultations are being held in Riyadh to discuss ways to implement the Riyadh Agreement," he added.

"Saudi Arabia, which sponsored the agreement and guarantees its implementation, has rejected the self-administration which the STC declared in Aden and some other southern provinces," he said.

"The legitimate government and STC need to speed up the implementation of the agreement, because any delay will not be in their interests," he said.

"Rather, it will be in the interest of the hostile entities in the region that are benefiting from disputes among the two sides."

Houthis, extremists benefit from delay

Political analyst Faisal Ahmed noted that the Riyadh Agreement was reached with the consent of two sides, and that neither side was forced to accept it.

"Therefore, the two sides must realise that there are entities on the lookout to undermine Yemen, especially in view of the delay in implementation," he told Al-Mashareq.

"Last weekend, al-Qaeda carried out three assassinations in Abyan and Shabwa provinces on one day, taking advantage of the vacuum," he noted.

"It is in the interest of the Houthis, and Iran behind them, that the agreement is not implemented, as this will distract the government's efforts in different sectors," he cautioned.

He urged Saudi Arabia, in its capacity as sponsor of the agreement, to pressure the two sides to accelerate its implementation.

"The implementation of the agreement will be the first phase in establishing comprehensive peace in Yemen, restoring state institutions and ending the Houthis' coup," he said.

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