Middle East

Yemeni separatists suspend talks with government

Southern Transitional Council cites arrest of its members as reason for suspension of talks

Aziz Al-Ahmadi   | 18.06.2021
Yemeni separatists suspend talks with government

SANAA, Yemen

Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Friday announced that it suspended talks with the country’s government in a protest against the arrest of its "officials."

In a statement, STC spokesman Ali Al-Kathiri said Jaafar Abu Bakr, the head of the local leadership of the council in the southeastern Hadhramaut governorate, and his deputy Hassan Saleh Al-Amoudi were arrested as they were crossing a checkpoint in the government-controlled Shabwa governorate, south of the country.

Al-Kathiri described the arrest as a "terrorist act" and announced that the STC delegation will withdraw from negotiations with Yemen's government on the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.

He blamed the government forces, which he referred to as "militias," for the STC's extreme action.

The Yemeni government has not yet responded to the allegations.

Late last month, the Yemeni government and the STC, which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, began consultations aimed at finalizing the implementation of the Saudi-sponsored Riyadh Agreement signed between them in the Saudi capital Riyadh in 2019.

The pact included 29 terms that address political, social, economic, and security situations in Yemen's southern provinces. Both parties have frequently blamed each other for not adhering to the agreement.

Yemen has been ravaged by violence and instability since 2014, when Iran-aligned Houthi rebels captured much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

A Saudi-led coalition aimed at reinstating the Yemeni government worsened the situation, causing one of the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crises, with 30 million people accounting for 80% of the population needing humanitarian assistance and protection.


*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara

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