Yemen's southern separatists said Wednesday (August 26th) they had withdrawn from talks over a Saudi-sponsored power-sharing deal with the Yemeni government, in the latest setback for the troubled process.
The Southern Transitional Council (STC) said in a statement it had sent a letter to the Saudi authorities confirming "the suspension of its participation in the ongoing consultations to implement the agreement".
The Riyadh Agreement, struck late last year, was designed to mend a rift between allies in the war against the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah) who have seized much of Yemen's north.
It was hailed as a possible stepping stone towards ending the wider conflict.
But the on-again, off-again process saw the STC proclaim self-governance in the south in April, only to abandon that stance last month and pledge to implement the stalled peace deal.
The separatists on Wednesday said their decision to pull out of the talks was due to ongoing military escalation in the flashpoint province of Abyan, and the rupture of an agreed ceasefire.
They also complained about the failure to pay public sector salaries, and a collapse of services in the south, conditions that triggered the declaration of self-rule in April.
In a social media post, STC vice president Hani Ben Breik said the separatists were committed to the original agreement but that their move was aimed at pushing for a full commitment to the deal.
There was no immediate reaction from the Saudi government.