Saudi Arabia pressures Yemen government to return to Aden amid power-struggle with separatists
Saudi Arabia is intensifying its pressure on the Yemeni government to leave Riyadh and return to Yemen’s interim capital Aden, in a bid to ease tensions between the government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatists.
A number of ministers in the power-sharing cabinet are scheduled to return to Aden Monday after residing in Riyadh for three months, according to a Yemeni government source who spoke to The New Arab's sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
The source indicated that Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik will also return to Aden in the coming days.
During consultations hosted by Riyadh two weeks ago, Saudi Arabia was unable to compel the STC to address the reasons that led to the departure of the government, amid the ongoing power struggle between the two governing sides.
The gradual return of ministers was met with criticism from some sides who argued that the government should not return to Aden before the powersharing Riyadh Agreement was fully respected in light of the STC's military campaigns in the de-facto Yemeni capital.
Advisor to the Yemeni information ministry, Mokhtar Alrahbi, believed that any return of the government to Aden would give legitimacy to the STC separatists, who have said their absence led to a spike in crimes in the coastal city.
He argued that while the legitimate government had implemented the Riyadh Agreement the STC continues to violate it by maintaining military control over the whole of Aden governorate.
الحكومة الشرعية نفذت كل بنود اتفاق الرياض الخاص بها في حين مليشيات الانتقالي يرفضون تنفيذ اي بند من البنود الخاصة بهم فيما يتعلق بالشق العسكري حيث ما تزال مليشياتهم تفرض سيطرة على كل محافظة عدن وكل مؤسسات الدولة ويماطلون في التنفيذ حتى الآن.— مختار الرحبي (@alrahbi5) June 13, 2021
The STC, supported by the UAE, is part of a power-sharing cabinet with Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, which was exiled to Aden after the capital Sanaa was captured by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in 2014.
The government was formed late last year as a result of a Saudi-UAE deal brokered earlier in 2019.
Abdulmalik and his allies left for Riyadh after the government palace in Aden was stormed by protesters in March.
A suspected Houthi strike on a government delegation arriving at Aden Airport in December 2020 also sparked fears about security.
Clashes between rival militias, kidnappings, and assassinations are also rife.