Yemen government, UAE-backed southern separatists to sign reconciliation agreement on Thursday

Yemen government, UAE-backed southern separatists to sign reconciliation agreement on Thursday
A reconciliation agreement between the Yemeni government and UAE-backed southern separatists is due to be signed in Riyadh on Thursday, granting ministerial posts to the separatists.
2 min read
16 October, 2019
Southern separatists gained control of Aden in August [Getty]
The internationally-recognised Yemen government and southern separatists are expected to sign an agreement Thursday to end fighting in the city of Aden, it was announced on Wednesday.

The UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council took control of Aden in August following heavy fighting with forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.

The two sides are nominally allied against the Iran-backed Houthi movement, which took control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2015 with Aden serving as the temporary capital since then.

The fighting between government forces and UAE-backed separatists has exacerbated Yemen's war and caused fractures in the Saudi-led anti-Houthi coalition supporting the Yemeni government.

The UAE is officially part of this coalition but its backing for southern separatists has earned it condemnation from President Hadi's government.

Read more: Saudi-Emirati allies reunite after deadly Aden fallout

UAE planes have previously carried out airstrikes on government forces in support of the separatists. The UAE is opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Islah movement which Hadi's government is allied with.

In June, Abu Dhabi announced that it would scale back its military presence in Yemen but still maintains influence through thousands of proxy fighters it has armed.

Saudi Arabia has been mediating between the government and the separatists in recent weeks. Two officials from Hadi’s government told Reuters that the peace deal will be signed in Riyadh on Thursday.

The leader of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), Aidarus Al-Zubaidi, tweeted a photo of himself on Wednesday travelling to Saudi Arabia to sign the peace agreement.

The deal will reshuffle the Yemeni government, granting ministerial posts to members of the STC, and restructure the Yemeni army.

Last week, UAE forces handed control over key bases in Aden to Saudi troops in an attempt to pave the way for an understanding.

An agreement to end the power struggle in Aden and southern Yemen would make it easier for the UN to end the war between the government and the Houthis.

The war has killed tens of thousands of Yemenis since 2015 and brought the country to the brink of famine.

Last month, the Houthis offered to stop missile attacks on Saudi Arabia in return for an end to Saudi air strikes in Yemen. Riyadh has responded to the offer positively.


Agencies contributed to this report