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.
“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.