Saudi Arabia Brokers Deal Between Warring Sides in South Yemen

A Saudi-brokered agreement has been reached between the warring sides in the south of Yemen, paving the way for wider peace talks to end the five-year civil war, The Guardian informs.

The Southern Transitional Council, supported by the United Arab Emirates, in August seized control of the southern port city of Aden, leaving the Saudi- and UN-backed government led by President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi in possession of little land or effective power. Hadi had already been thrown out of Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in 2014 by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

The split in the south between Hadi and the STC pitted two normal Gulf allies, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, against one another. The newly negotiated government will involve a 24-member government with an equal number of ministries allocated to the STC and Hadi supporters, The Guardian adds.

The deal is a significant enhancement of the status of the STC, which has previously been excluded from all UN-brokered peace deals, and STC sources appeared to be more pleased with the agreement than the other side.

The STC move against Aden in August came after the UAE announced it was pulling most of its troops out of Yemen, leaving Saudi Arabia exposed as the main interventionist regional power.

The STC, which is opposed to the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood-aligned party al-Islah in Hadi’s government, said it had discovered rampant corruption once it took over military posts in August.

The new agreement, negotiated in Jeddah and Riyadh over more than a month, includes new measures to crack down on corruption and ensure a more even allocation of resources by Yemen’s central bank. The draft agreement postpones the secession issue until the war with the Houthis has been resolved.

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