Yemen govt, STC to sign Riyadh Agreement on Tuesday

November 3, 2019

RIYADH — Yemen's internationally recognized government will sign an agreement with Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Tuesday aimed at ending a conflict simmering within the country's long-running civil war, Yemeni and Saudi officials said.

The Saudi ambassador to Yemen Muhammad Al Jaber said: “The patronage by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and the leadership of Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and minister of defense have been fruitful in reaching the Riyadh Agreement between the Yemeni government and the STC. We look forward to a new phase of stability, security and development in Yemen.”

Al Jaber added that the signing ceremony for the Riyadh Agreement would be on Tuesday (Nov. 5) under the leadership of the Crown Prince and in the presence of Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Muhammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

The power-sharing deal would see the STC handed a number of ministries, and the government return to the main southern city of Aden, according to officials and Saudi media reports on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar Al-Iryani has confirmed that the official signing ceremony for the Riyadh Agreement will be in the presence of a large audience of leading state, government and party figures as well as political and social personalities, among others.

Al-Iryani said: “This audience of political figures confirms the keenness of the brethren in Saudi Arabia and President Hadi to ensure the presence of all the southern factions and the Yemeni political elite, with the objective of unifying the efforts of all Yemenis under the umbrella of the constitutional legitimacy in the battle for regaining the state and ending the coup by the Iran-backed Houthi militia.”

Al-Iryani greatly valued the continuous Saudi efforts “to achieve an agreement, working hard to unify the Yemenis’ ranks to face the challenges, foremost of which is the Iranian danger and its proxy the Houthis, support for the government’s efforts in establishing security and stability, and safeguarding Yemeni unity and the safety of its territories. These are historic stances by Saudi Arabia to which all bear witness.”

Last Thursday, the Yemeni Information Minister had refuted what was circulated by some media on the legitimate government’s refusal to sign the Riyadh Agreement. He stressed that the objective of “some mouthpieces” repeating allegations that the government is hindering or refusing to sign the agreement is with the aim of creating confusion, disparaging the government’s stance and misleading public opinion.

Al-Iryani reiterated the call to “deal with the agreement in a constructive way, and to keep away from political bickering and infighting. He stressed that all should work sincerely to make it a success.”

He said that the initialing of the agreement was carried out last week by Dr. Salim Al Khanbashi, deputy premier, in line with the directives of President Hadi.

In recent weeks the government and the STC have been holding discreet indirect talks mediated by Saudi Arabia in the Kingdom's western city of Jeddah.

Sources on both sides have said that the parties struck a power-sharing deal. Saudi Arabia's Al-Ekhbariya state television has reported a government of 24 ministers would be formed, 'divided equally between the southern and northern provinces of Yemen'.

Under the deal, the Yemeni prime minister would return to Aden to 'reactivate state institutions', it added. Al-Ekhbariya said the Saudi-led Coalition would oversee a 'joint committee' to implement the agreement. The Coalition forces intervened in Yemen in 2015 as the Houthi rebels closed in on Aden.