Yemen’s separatist council urged to ditch self-rule declaration

Fighters with Yemen's separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) deploy in the southern city of Aden, on April 26, 2020, after the council declared self-rule in the south. (AFP)
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Updated 28 April 2020

Yemen’s separatist council urged to ditch self-rule declaration

  • The Riyadh Agreement provides for the participation of the STC in consultations on the final political solution to end the conflict in Yemen and serving the interests of Yemenis nationwide

AL-MUKALLA: Diplomats and Islamic leaders on Monday urged Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) to ditch its controversial self-rule declaration and avoid plunging the war-torn country into a further spiral of violence.
The move drew regional and international condemnation with analysts warning that the council would be unable to govern provinces alone.
The UN envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, called on the STC to adhere to the commitments of the Riyadh Agreement.
“The latest turn of events is disappointing, especially as the city of Aden and other areas in the south have yet to recover from flooding and are facing the risk of COVID-19 (the coronavirus disease).
“The Riyadh Agreement provides for the participation of the STC in consultations on the final political solution to end the conflict in Yemen and serving the interests of Yemenis nationwide,” he said.
British Ambassador to Yemen Michael Aron warned that the council’s declaration would lead to more fighting in the country and repeated his demand that it immediately engage with the internationally recognized government and Saudi Arabia to accelerate putting into place the terms of the Riyadh Agreement.
“The unilateral STC decision further undermines the stability of Yemen. I hope the STC will cooperate with KSA and resume discussions with the Yemeni government on full and speedy implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, which is in the best interests of all Yemenis, especially southerners,” Aron said on Twitter.
In Jeddah, Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen, the secretary-general the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), backed a Saudi-led coalition statement demanding the council revoke its declaration, stressing that the Riyadh Agreement brought Yemenis together and would help to reinstall state institutions and fight terrorism.

Residents and local government officials In Aden told Arab News that forces loyal to the STC had intensified their presence around vital state facilities, such as the seaport, and given public servants two days’ leave.

FASTFACT

The OIC chief stressed that the Riyadh Agreement brought Yemenis together and would help to reinstall state institutions and fight terrorism.

“The council’s move is aimed at seizing revenues from public institutions,” said a local government official, who wished to remain anonymous, adding that the move had shattered government relief plans to help thousands of people affected by recent floods. “They are moving to appoint their monitors inside government bodies in Aden. The situation here is so miserable and just got worse with the declaration.”

Aden news reports suggested that STC leaders would be unable to live up to their claims that they could govern the southern provinces alone and fix basic services using revenues from local government bodies.

Fatehi Ben Lazraq, editor of Aden Al-Ghad news site, said Aden’s seaport was the biggest money earner yet those revenues would hardly be able to cover fuel bills for power stations.

“They cannot run Aden on their own. The electricity consumes all revenues from Aden,” he told Arab News.

“People are demanding the restoration of the state that can pay salaries and fix services and the council is part of that state under the Riyadh Agreement,” he added.


World Food Programme plans wheat imports for Beirut

Updated 34 min 18 sec ago

World Food Programme plans wheat imports for Beirut

  • WFP is ready to offer supply chain management and logistical support to Lebanon

ZURICH, Switzerland: The World Food Programme plans to import wheat flour and grains for bakeries and mills to help protect against food shortages across Lebanon after a blast wrecked its main port in Beirut, the United Nations agency said on Friday.
“WFP is concerned that the explosion and the damage to the port will exacerbate an already grim food security situation – that has worsened because of the country’s profound financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic,” a spokeswoman said in notes prepared for a UN briefing in Geneva, adding it would be providing food parcels to thousands of families.
“WFP also stands ready to offer supply chain management and logistical support and expertise to Lebanon,” it said.