Coalition seeks end to escalation in Yemen, urges return to Riyadh deal

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The STC scrapped its agreement with the Hadi government last weekend

RIYADH: The Saudi-led Arab Coalition supporting Yemen’s UN-recognized government on Monday urged all parties to end any escalation of hostilities and return to the status that existed before the Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared self-rule.
In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the coalition emphasized “the need to cancel any step that violates the Riyadh agreement and work to accelerate its implementation.”

On Monday the United Arab Emirates said it stands against a decision by the separatist group and urges full implementation of a peace deal agreed last year for the south, minister of state for foreign affairs Anwar Gargash said.

On Sunday, the STC scrapped a peace deal with the internationally recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
Accusing the government of corruption and mismanagement, the separatists said they would “self-govern” the key southern port city of Aden and other southern provinces.

Yemen’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hadhrami described the move as a “resumption of its (STC’s) armed insurgency and rejection and complete withdrawal from the Riyadh agreement.”

Authorities in Yemen’s southern provinces of Hadramawt, Abyan, Shabwa, Al-Mahra and the remote island of Socotra also rejected the separatist group’s claim to self-rule.

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The government said local and security authorities in the five provinces dismissed the move as a “clear and definite coup.”
Some of the provinces issued their own statements condemning it.

The coalition appealed to all parties to “give priority to the interests of the Yemeni people over any other interests”.

It also urged the parties involved not to lose their focus on working to achieve the goal of restoring the state, ending the Houthi “coup” and “countering terrorist organizations”.

“The Coalition has and will continue to undertake practical and systematic steps to implement the Riyadh Agreement between the parties to unite Yemeni ranks, restore state institutions and combat the scourge of terrorism,” the statement said. “The responsibility rests with the signatories to the Agreement to undertake national steps toward implementing its provisions, which were signed and agreed upon with a time matrix for implementation.”

The STC has been part of the coalition-backed forces fighting the Iran-backed Houthi militia, which seized control of the Yemeni capital Sanaa and other provinces in 2014.

The Houthi “coup” has led to the formation of the Saudi-led coalition, which had since driven away the Houthis from the south and other provinces. President Hadi’s government has made Aden as its temporary seat.

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