Aden residents have greeted the Eid al-Adha holiday with optimism this year, welcoming the prospect of a return to peace, security and development.
Yemeni separatists abandoned their declaration of self-rule in the south on Wednesday (July 29th) and pledged to implement a Saudi-brokered peace deal, mending a rift between allies in the war against the Houthis (Ansarallah).
The Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) already have taken steps to implement the power-sharing agreement signed in Riyadh last November under a new mechanism put forward by Saudi Arabia.
President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi issued presidential decrees mandating Prime Minister Moeen Abdulmalik to form a new government within 30 days and for the appointment of a new governor and security director for Aden.
"Since the bloody confrontations between the army and STC forces in Aden last year, which took place just two days before Eid al-Adha, Aden has been declining in terms of services and security," said Aden resident Khaled Salem.
"The agreement between the two sides and the appointment of a governor for Aden will make local authorities pay attention to services instead of focusing on the conflict and taking sides," the public sector employee told Al-Mashareq.
The previous instability has negatively affected Aden and the services provided to residents, he said.
"The manifestations of Eid started with defusing the tension, and this will be reflected on security and citizens' happiness," he noted.
A new era in Aden
The implementation of the Riyadh Agreement "ushers in a new era of government performance out of the provisional capital of Aden", said Information Minister Muammar al-Eryani.
"This will include bringing conditions back to normal, providing services, meeting citizens' needs in liberated areas, encouraging development, unifying efforts against the Houthis, and reaching a comprehensive political solution," he said.
For now, Aden residents are watching the situation closely to see how it develops, said Aden resident and rights activist Radhwan Farie.
"This is because the previous agreements failed, and were followed by a wave of violent confrontations between the legitimate government and STC forces," he told Al-Mashareq.
"Starting the agreement implementation as per the announced mechanism ushers in a new era of peace and calm," he said. "But the city is as is; there is nothing new."
If it progresses as planned, he added, "the implementation of the agreement will be beneficial for the battered city, which had turned into a battlefield between all sides, and which will now return to life".
Security and services such as electricity and water, as well as commercial activities and tourism, have been paralysed in recent months, he said, expressing his hope that these will be restored and the economy will improve.