Yemen rivals sign deal to end power struggle in south

Yemen rivals sign deal to end power struggle in south

Saudi Arabia has been calling for a ceasefire.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit welcomed on Tuesday the signing of a power-sharing deal between the internationally-recognized government of Yemen and Yemen's Southern Transitional Council (STC).

"We have had an open channel with the Houthis since 2016".

US President Donald Trump, who has maintained logistical and intelligence support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen despite strong opposition in Congress, tweeted: "A very good start!"

The proposal, announced in September, says the Ansarullah will stop launching retaliatory missile and drone attacks against positions inside Saudi Arabia if the Saudi-led military coalition reciprocates the initiative in kind.

The mistrust between the allies has posed a headache for regional powerhouse Saudi Arabia, which remains focused on fighting the Huthis, who are aligned with Riyadh's archfoe Iran.

Al-Othaimeen congratulated President Hadi for his efforts in reaching the agreement and his role in unifying the ranks and activating the Yemeni state institutions to serve Yemen with all its segments.

Wednesday's confirmation comes amid the slow implementation of a landmark ceasefire deal for the key aid port of Hodeida, which was agreed between the government and the rebels in Sweden late past year.

The STC will also be included in any further political discussions to end the war in Yemen.

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"From this perspective, we have been standing beside Yemen, we still are and we will continue to do so", he said.

Riyadh and Washington, however, blamed Iran for the attacks - a charge denied by Tehran.

The so-called Riyadh agreement, hailed as a stepping stone towards ending the wider conflict, would see the government's return to Aden and the formation of a new cabinet of 24 ministers with equal representation for southerners, including the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC).

The deal also states that all forces that moved toward Aden, Abyan and Shabwah since the beginning of August will return to their bases and be replaced by local security forces within 15 days.

The STC will join with other southern fighters and their armies will be integrated into the government's forces within the next three months.

"The question now is whether the agreement can act as a bridge to a nationwide political settlement or if it simply marks a pause before another round of violence".

"If fully implemented, (the agreement) will mean that Saudi Arabia will assume ultimate responsibility for southern Yemen politically, militarily and in terms of security, with the United Arab Emirates relinquishing its authority over its Yemeni proxies there", the Sana'a Center think tank said in a report.

The conflict has since killed tens of thousands of people - majority civilians - and driven millions more to the brink of starvation in what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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