UAE hands Saudi positions in south Yemen to ease tensions

The UAE on Monday (October 14th) handed over to Saudi forces key positions in Yemen's southern city of Aden in a bid to defuse tensions between separatists and the government, AFP reported.

The UAE has trained and supported forces of the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), which seeks an independent southern Yemen, despite being a key pillar in a Saudi-led military coalition backing the government against the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah).

Yemen's internationally recognised government and the STC have been holding indirect negotiations in Saudi Arabia aimed at reaching a power-sharing agreement, after clashes that erupted earlier this year.

The STC security force said the UAE "has withdrawn" from al-Anad airbase, Yemen's largest located north of Aden, the southern city's international airport and a port "and handed them over to Saudi troops", a security official said.

The pullback is apparently aimed at facilitating the deal being thrashed out between the government and the separatists.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said there has been "a lot of progress" in the past couple of days in the talks underway in Saudi Arabia.

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