Saudi-led coalition rejects south Yemen self-rule declaration - GulfToday

Saudi-led coalition rejects south Yemen self-rule declaration


A convoy of the Southern Transitional Council heads from the southern city of Aden to Abyan province. AFP

The Saudi-led military coalition on Monday rejected Yemen separatists' declaration of self-rule over the country's south and demanded "an end to any escalatory actions".


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The separatists' move complicates a long and separate conflict, fought by the coalition and the internationally recognised government, against Huthi rebels who control much of the north.

Yemen's separatists signed a power-sharing deal in Riyadh last November that quelled a battle -- dubbed a "civil war within a civil war" -- for the south that had in August seen them seize control of the second city of Aden.

In this photo shows Aidarous Al Zoubeidi head of Yemen's Southern Transitional Council, speaking to the media. File/AFP

"Following the surprising announcement of a state of emergency by the Southern Transitional Council, we re-emphasise the need to promptly implement the Riyadh Agreement," the coalition said according to tweets from the official Saudi Press Agency.

"The Coalition demands an end to any escalatory actions and calls for return to the Agreement by the participating parties."

The STC, which is backed by key coalition partner the United Arab Emirates, on Sunday declared self-rule in southern Yemen, accusing the government of failing to perform its duties and of "conspiring" against the southern cause.

People walk on a street in Aden, Yemen. File photo/Reuters

The government has condemned the move and said the separatists -- who have long agitated for independence in the south — would be responsible for the "catastrophic and dangerous" outcome.

The breakdown between the one-time allies comes as the coalition has extended a unilateral ceasefire aimed at fending off the coronavirus pandemic — an olive branch rejected by the Huthis.

Compounding the country's troubles, at least 21 people were killed in flash flooding this month, with Aden's streets submerged and homes destroyed.

The United Nations said Sunday that more than 100,000 people across Yemen have been affected by the torrential rains which had damaged roads, bridges and the electricity grid, and contaminated water supplies.

"Countless families have lost everything," Lise Grande, the UN's Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said in statement.

"This tragedy comes on top of the COVID-19 crisis, which comes on top of the pre-famine last year, which came on top of the worst cholera outbreak in modern history," she added.

"The solution is clear. The parties to the conflict need to find the courage to stop fighting and start negotiating."

Agence France-Presse

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