Yemen separatist council urged to honor military commitments under Riyadh Agreement

A Yemeni child receives humanitarian aid in the city of Taez. Yemen’s officials have thanked Saudi Arabia for bridging differences between two groups. (AFP)
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Updated 15 October 2020

Yemen separatist council urged to honor military commitments under Riyadh Agreement

  • Leaders edge toward formation of new government as fighting rages in Hodeidah against Houthi militia

AL-MUKALLA: The Yemeni government has urged the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council (STC) to immediately put into place security and military arrangements approved under the Riyadh Agreement to help smooth the way toward forming a new administration.

Ahmed Obeid Bin Daghr, a senior adviser to the Yemeni president and a former prime minister of the country, said on Tuesday that the internationally recognized government had honored its political commitments under the agreement by naming a new governor and security chief for Aden.

But he signaled that the new government could not be named until the STC had implemented its security and military commitments, such as withdrawing forces from Aden and Abyan.

“We hope that military measures will follow in Abyan and security in Aden to ensure the return of the president, parliament, and the government to the temporary capital of Aden,” Bin Daghr said in a tweet, pointing out the significance of the Riyadh Agreement in bringing together Yemenis in their mutual battle against the Iran-backed Houthis.

The Yemeni official thanked Saudi Arabia for bridging differences between the two groups and helping them overcome difficulties in the implementation process of the agreement.

In Aden, STC leaders had previously denied repeated government accusations that they were delaying withdrawals, claiming that some government military units involved in fighting in Abyan had not returned to their bases in the central city of Marib.

During a meeting on Saturday with the Saudi military committee monitoring the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement in Aden, Ahmed Saeed bin Breik, the STC’s acting president, said the council had submitted proposals for accelerating the fulfilment of the Riyadh Agreement, disengagement of forces, and repositioning troops.

At the same meeting, Ahmed Lamlis, Aden’s new governor and the STC’s secretary-general, said that he had ordered the removal of military and security checkpoints from streets in Aden and was working on restoring
vital services.

Under the Riyadh Agreement, designed to defuse tensions between the government and STC in southern Yemen, the council will be included in a new government in exchange for pulling out of Aden and Abyan and allowing the government to return to Aden.

Fighting between the two sides broke out in May when government forces pushed toward Aden in a move aimed at expelling separatists from the strategic city.

In June, the Saudi-led coalition deployed military officers to monitor a truce in Abyan and the withdrawal of arms and weapons from Aden.

Meanwhile, fighting raged on Wednesday in different areas of the western city of Hodeidah where the Iran-backed Houthis have been pushing to drive government forces out of liberated parts of the city and the districts of Hays and Al-Durihimi.

The Joint Forces, an umbrella term for three major military units in the country’s western coast, said dozens of Houthis, including three field military leaders, were killed in fierce clashes on Tuesday and Wednesday and government forces had foiled Houthi attempts to advance in the province. In southern Taiz, official news agency SABA reported on Tuesday that government troops had made limited gains in the city.


Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

Updated 22 October 2020

Iraq PM in talks with UK's Boris Johnson on security, political reforms

  • Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government
  • Both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues

LONDON: Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi and his British counterpart Boris Johnson discussed security challenges in the Middle East on Thursday.
A-Khadimi met the UK leader at Downing Street as part of an a European tour. 
Johnson expressed his strong support for the Iraq government as they discussed economic reforms, the coronavirus pandemic and the continued effort to defeat Daesh.
The Twitter account of Al-Kadhimi's office said both leaders discussed issues of bilateral interest, and discussed recent political and security issues in Iraq and the region. 
They also agreed on more cooperation in the fight against terrorism.
“It was agreed to increase more cooperation in the field of combating terrorism, as well as in the political and economic sectors, in light of the economic challenges that Iraq faces,” his office said.
Prior to his UK trip, Al-Kadhimi met with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
During these visits, Al-Kadhimi discussed Iraq’s main challenges such as the fight against terrorism and foreign interference in its affairs.
The Iraqi leader, who became prime minister in May, has a particularly affinity with the UK, having lived there for many years after fleeing Iraq in the 1980s.