STC demands withdrawal of government forces in south Yemen

STC demands withdrawal of government forces from southern Yemen
3 min read
28 October, 2021
The Southern Transitional Council demanded government forces withdraw from the southern and eastern parts of the country as a precondition to restart the Riyadh Agreement
The Southern Transitional Council is backed by the UAE [Getty]

The head of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council has demanded the withdrawal of Yemeni government forces in southern Yemen, as a precondition to restart a Saudi-backed unity agreement.

Aidarous Al-Zubaidi demanded on Wednesday that forces allied with Yemen's government led by Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to leave the southern and eastern governorates, as a condition for the STC to return to the Riyadh Agreement, a unity agreement between the government and secessionists.

Al-Zubaidi made his remarks during a meeting with a number of European Union ambassadors who arrived in Aden, Yemen's interim capital city, on Tuesday.

He added that the STC leadership is ready to return to the negotiating table, as long as the pro-Hadi forces, whom he claims to be Muslim Brotherhood members, withdraw from the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.

The Riyadh Agreement, signed in November 2019, was initially welcomed as preventing the break-up of Yemen, and hailed as a possible stepping stone towards ending the wider conflict.

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The STC withdrew from the agreement in January 2020.

The agreement has been broken down into three main components of power-sharing: political, military and security.

Political arrangements

The agreement calls for a new government that consists of up to 24 ministers, with cabinet positions being distributed equally between the Hadi government and the STC.

The ministers named must not have a history of encouraging their supporters to participate in clashes with the other side of the conflict.

Yemen’s prime minister must appoint an agreed governor and director of security for Aden, which is the temporary capital of Yemen after Sanaa was taken over by the Houthi rebels.

A governor will also be appointed for the southern provinces of Abyan and Dhale.

All state revenues will be deposited in the central bank of Aden.

Military arrangements

As per the agreement, both STC and government forces that advanced towards Aden, Abyan and Shabwa, the site of numerous deadly clashes are to return to their original posts and to will be replaced by local security forces.

Military and security personnel stationed in Aden will also be re-deployed to different areas under the supervision of the Saudi-led coalition.

The First Presidential Protection Brigade will be excused from the new measures to protect the presidential palace and surrounding areas. The STC leadership will be given the same level of protection.

Security arrangements

The STC forces will be merged into the Hadi government’s interior and defence ministries.

There will also be a re-organisation of security and counter-terrorism forces in Aden, which will include posts from the STC and the Hadi government.

The interior ministry’s director for security will set up a defence force to protect civilian infrastructure.