Clashes between Yemen govt &STC subside in Abyan province after truce talks

May 20, 2020

Clashes between Saudi-backed government forces and UAE-led separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) forces in Yemen’s southern Abyan province reportedly subsided on Tuesday after the internationally recognized government urged the STC to hold discussion over reimplementing the Riyadh Agreement.

According to media reports, the Yemeni government on Tuesday called on the STC to withdraw its declaration of self-rule in the South to cease fighting and put the Riyadh Agreement into place. Local media and members of the STC also stated that the Saudi-led coalition had invited council leaders for talks with the government in Riyadh in a bid to bring the conflict to a standstill.

Last month, the separatist group STC established self-rule in southern Yemen. They deployed their forces in Aden after announcing emergency rule in all southern governorates. This move not only invited anger from the Arab coalition, but also rejection from other countries including the US and Saudi Arabia. Following this, armed clashes broke out between Yemeni government forces and southern separatists in Abyan and other provinces. Attempting to recapture Abyan and Aden from the separatists, the Yemeni government forces launched an offensive in the provinces.

What is the Riyadh Agreement?

In early November 2019, a power-sharing deal was signed between the Saudi-backed Hadi government and the STC supported by the UAE in Riyadh after weeks of negotiations initiated by Saudi to end the power struggle in South Yemen. As per the deal, the STC would join a new national cabinet and place all forces under the control of the government. Additionally, the two parties agreed on exchanging prisoners. However, in January 2020, the Southern separatists pulled out of the committees implementing the agreement.

Amid the ongoing war, the Arab Coalition has made several attempts in stressing for both sides to reinstate the power-sharing agreement. On April 20, 2020, another agreement was signed between the Yemeni government and STC to implement the Riyadh Agreement.
While armed conflict have been going on in various parts of Yemen, the country is grappling with a global health pandemic. Due to lack of funding and medical facilities, the United Nations has warned that nearly one million displaced Yemenis are at risk of losing their shelter and access to food and medicine.In the aftermath of the prolonging civil war, Yemen has witnessed one of the worst humanitarian crises in the past few years.

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