Yemen government accuses southern separatists of reneging on peace deal
Yemen’s internationally recognised government on Wednesday accused the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) of reneging on its commitments under a 2019 power-sharing deal, known as the Riyadh agreement.
The STC, which seeks to establish a separate state in southern Yemen, has previously fought against Yemeni government forces in the country’s complex war.
The deal gives the STC positions in the internationally recognised government and in return allows the government's ministers to return to Aden, which has served as Yemen’s temporary capital since Houthi rebels seized Sanaa and most of northern Yemen in 2014.
However, it has never been fully implemented.
In April 2020, the STC seized control of Aden in violation of the deal and currently controls much of Yemen’s south.
Yemeni ministers arrived in Aden in December 2020 following a Saudi brokered agreement but left in March after protesters attacked the presidential palace.
Last month Saudi Arabia hosted talks aimed at easing tensions between the two sides and gradually allowing the return of government ministers again to Aden.
In a statement published on Wednesday, however, the Yemeni government said that the STC had not implemented the clauses of the Riyadh agreement which stipulate an end to all forms of "military, security, political, and media escalation" in order to allow the government to return to Aden.
The government said it had presented "serious and responsible proposals" for the ministers' return but said that the STC had “continued escalation on all levels, including direct interference in the work of state institutions, issuing illegal decrees, issuing direct instructions to state officials in the temporary capital Aden and continuing to stop the work of institutions".
The government statement also accused the STC of “mobilising militarily, inciting protests in Shabwa, and creating tension in Abyan, while conducting an intense media campaign against the state and government, making false accusations against them, even while being an essential partner in this government".
The statement also accused the governor of Aden province, Ahmed Lamles, who is loyal to the STC of issuing orders exceeding his official capacity and allowing STC fighters to storm a branch of the state petrol company in Aden.