Yemen forges unity government: officials

Yemen forges unity government: officials
2 min read
19 December, 2020
Yemen has formed a new unity government, forging a joint front against the Houthi rebels.
The new government includes supporters of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council [Getty]

Yemen's internationally recognised government and southern separatists formed a new cabinet on Friday, Saudi officials said, forging a joint front against Houthi rebels who have seized much of the north.

The new government was formed under the auspices of Saudi Arabia, which leads a military coalition against the Iran-backed Houthis, who took control of the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The Saudi foreign ministry welcomed the announcement of the government formation, saying it was "an important step towards achieving a political solution and ending the crisis in Yemen".

Tens of thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed and millions displaced in Yemen's grinding five-year war, which has triggered what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

The new government includes ministers loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and supporters of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC), as well as other parties, a government official told AFP.

While all oppose Houthi forces, deep divisions have grown between the forces, and the Riyadh-sponsored talks pushed a power sharing agreement designed to mend the rifts.

Saudi Arabia has been encouraging the unity government to quell the "war within a civil war" and to bolster the coalition against the Houthis, who are poised to seize the key town of Marib, the last government stronghold in the north.

In recent months, the rebels have stepped up attacks on Saudi Arabia - including its critical oil infrastructure - in retaliation for the Riyadh-led military campaign.

Prime Minister Main Said has retained his position in the new government, which comprises 24 ministers, while changes have taken place in several ministries, including the foreign ministry.

The unity government formation comes a month before the inauguration of US President-elect Joe Biden, who was critical of Saudi Arabia during his campaign amid the humanitarian disaster in Yemen since Riyadh's intervention in the conflict in 2015.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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