Yemen government, separatists to sign power-sharing deal on Tuesday

Security Belt Force fighters, dominated by members of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), gather at the Al-Alam crossroads on the eastern entrance Aden. STC will be handed a number of ministries uner a power-sharing agreement with the Yemeni government. (AFP)
Updated 02 November 2019

Yemen government, separatists to sign power-sharing deal on Tuesday

  • In recent weeks the government and the separatists have been holding discreet indirect talks
  • Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan will represent UAE

RIYADH: Yemen’s internationally recognized government will sign an agreement with southern separatists on Tuesday aimed at ending a conflict simmering within the country’s long-running civil war, Yemeni and Saudi officials said.

The power-sharing deal would see the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) handed a number of ministries, and the government return to the main southern city of Aden, according to officials and Saudi media reports on Saturday.

Yemeni Information Minister Muammar Al-Iryani tweeted that an official signing ceremony for the “Riyadh Agreement” would take place in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in the presence of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan will represent the United Arab Emirates, the main partner in the Saudi-led coalition backing Hadi’s government, Saudi ambassador to Yemen Mohammed Al-Jaber tweeted.

The Security Belt Forces — dominated by the STC — in August took control of Aden, which had served as the beleaguered government’s base since it was ousted from the capital Sanaa by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in 2014.

The clashes between the separatists and unionist supporters of the government, who for years fought on the same side against the Houthis, had raised fears the country could break apart entirely.

In recent weeks the government and the separatists have been holding discreet indirect talks mediated by Saudi Arabia in the kingdom’s western city of Jeddah.

Sources on both sides have said that the parties struck a power-sharing deal.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ekhbariya state television has reported a government of 24 ministers would be formed, “divided equally between the southern and northern provinces of Yemen.” Under the deal, the Yemeni prime minister would return to Aden to “reactivate state institutions,” it added.

Al-Ekhbariya said the Saudi-led coalition would oversee a “joint committee” to implement the agreement.


Israeli defence chief says he's preparing for consequences of West Bank annexations

Updated 38 min 22 sec ago

Israeli defence chief says he's preparing for consequences of West Bank annexations

  • Gantz said he ordered the military to step up preparations for Israel's pending annexation of parts of the West Bank
  • Netanyahu has pledged to begin cabinet discussions on July 1 on the plan

JERUSALEM: Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz said on Monday he ordered the military to step up preparations for Israel's pending annexation of parts of the West Bank, a plan that could stoke Palestinian violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to begin cabinet discussions on July 1 on extending Israeli sovereignty to Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley in the West Bank, occupied territory that Palestinians seek for a state.
Gantz's directive appeared to indicate that the centrist politician had either signed on to the move, or at least believed it would be inevitable, given right-wing support in the Netanyahu-led coalition cabinet.
In public remarks to legislators of his centrist Blue and White party, Gantz noted a recent uptick in anti-Israeli violence in the West Bank and the Palestinians' declaration last month that they were ending security cooperation with Israel over the annexation issue.
He said he had subsequently ordered the chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Aviv Kochavi, to "examine all the ramifications and the required preparations" stemming from moving ahead with the peace plan US President Donald Trump announced in January, a blueprint that could ease annexation.
In a separate written statement, Gantz said "preparations by the Israel Defence Forces should be stepped up ahead of pending diplomatic moves regarding the Palestinians".
The Palestinians have rejected Trump's proposal, under which the vast majority of West Bank settlements built by Israel on land captured in the 1967 Middle East war would be incorporated into "contiguous Israeli territory".
The Palestinians and most countries consider such settlements illegal. Israel disputes this.
The Trump plan also envisages a Palestinian state under near-complete Israeli security control, creating what Palestinians leaders say would be an unviable country.
Sami Abu Zuhri, an official with militant group Hamas which rules the Gaza Strip, another part of Palestinians' hoped-for future state, told Reuters: "The call of the occupation army to get ready for annexation of the West Bank is a call for war, and the occupation will regret this crime, and soon realise they are committing a grave mistake."