Spotlight: Yemeni gov't, southern separatists prepare for troops redeployment ahead of new power-sharing gov't

Source: Xinhua| 2020-12-11 03:03:29|Editor: huaxia

ADEN, Yemen, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Yemen's government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Thursday began preparations for implementing military and security provisions of a long-delayed political deal signed between the two rival factions last year in Saudi Arabia.

Local Yemeni military officials said that the two-warring sides finally reached a consensus on ceasing hostilities and conducting troops redeployment in the country's southern provinces ahead of declaring a new power-sharing government.

One of the officials told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that senior officers of the Saudi Arabia-led coalition backed by armored vehicles arrived in the southern province of Abyan and began holding meetings with military leaders of the government and the STC.

"During the meetings, the Saudi officers discussed separating the forces of the two sides and conducting troops redeployment from the fighting areas in Abyan," the source said.

"The Saudi military observers will closely organize plans for withdrawing forces affiliated with the two sides from Abyan and other neighboring towns within a week," the source added.

Implementing the redeployment plans will be monitored and supervised by the Saudi officers who will also determine the future tasks of forces belonging to the two rival factions in southern Yemen, according to the official.

Amin Hussein, a spokesman for the government forces in Abyan, confirmed to Xinhua that their forces will begin withdrawal from Abyan's coastal city of Shuqrah which is located on the Arabian Sea according to the instructions given by the Saudi observing committee.

Military units loyal to Yemen's government are based in Shuqrah and previously waged a series of offensives in an attempt to advance into the southern towns controlled by the STC including the southern port city of Aden, but faced stiff resistance from the STC's fighters.

Earlier in the day, local residents on-ground said that an extraordinary calm prevailed over all the fighting fronts, from morning until this evening, and both sides stopped exchanging fire just minutes after the arrival of the Saudi officers in Abyan.

An official of Yemen's government told Xinhua that "naming members of the new power-sharing government was already completed and will be officially declared after conducting the troops redeployment and terminating the armed confrontations."

Saudi Arabia's official news agency reported quoting an official of the anti-Houthi Arab coalition as saying that "all necessary arrangements have been completed to carry out the mechanism to accelerate the implementation of Riyadh Agreement."

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition will supervise, through their military observers on the ground starting Thursday, the separation of the Yemeni military forces in Abyan and their return to the fronts, in addition to their exit from the capital Aden, the Saudi source said.

The coalition's source concluded by saying that it was agreed to announce the new power-sharing Yemeni government as soon as the implementation of the military aspect completes within a week.

The Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting Houthis in Yemen will also continue to support security units to carry out their essential duties of maintaining security and stability and fighting terrorist organizations, according to the Saudi agency.

The Yemeni government considered what had been achieved as "an indication of ending of the crisis," while the STC's leadership based in Aden announced its readiness "to offer concessions for the sake of stopping bloodshed."

Rajeh Badi, the government's official spokesman, said in a press statement that that what have been achieved recently is a significant step to end the internal disputes.

Meanwhile, Nizar Haitham, the STC's official spokesman, praised Saudi Arabia's efforts that facilitated "the achievement of the final consensus on declaring the new power-sharing government."

In 2019, Saudi Arabia persuaded the STC and the Yemeni government to hold reconciliation talks, which succeeded in reaching a deal to form a new technocratic cabinet of no more than 24 ministers.

But numerous obstacles have stood in the way of implementing the deal, which excluded the Houthi rebels who are still controlling the capital Sanaa and other northern provinces of the war-torn Arab country.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern regions including Sanaa. Enditem