JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had formed a joint panel to help enforce a cease-fire between government and separatist forces in the Yemeni provinces of Shabwah and Abyan, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said on Monday.
Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, spokesman of the coalition supporting Yemen's legitimate government, said the panel is tasked to ensure that all the ceasefire procedures are followed.
A joint statement issued early Monday by the Saudi and UAE foreign ministries stressed the urgency of enforcing a cease-fire and for the return of the civilian headquarters in Aden to the legitimate government under the supervision of coalition forces.
"The governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in line with their responsibility to support the legitimacy of Yemen in order to save Yemen and its people from the coup of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, emphasize the continuation of all their political, military, relief and development efforts with the participation of the coalition countries that rose to support the Yemeni people," the statement said.
The separatist forces of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) declared last month that it was breaking away from the UN-recognized legitimate government of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which is based in the southern city of Aden.
The Hadi government made Aden its temporary capital in 2015 after being pushed out of the capital, Sanaa, jointly by the Houthi militia and forces of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Hadi government was restored to power by the Saudi-led Arab Coalition and together with the STC forces they fought the combined forces of Saleh and the Houthis. The Houthis and Saleh's forces eventually fought each other, culminating in the killing of Saleh in December 2017.
Last month, STC forces seized key government installations and military camps in Aden as well as in Shabwa and Abyan.
The STC partially withdrew last week from key sites it occupied in Aden under pressure from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but it retains control of key military sites. The STC has since driven government troops out of two military camps in Abyan province.
On Saturday, government troops took control of the city of Ataq, capital of Shabwa province, after two days heavy fighting with the separatists.