► What is the Riyadh agreement?

Under the aegis of Saudi Arabia, the Riyadh accord was signed in November 2019 between the government of President Hadi, exiled in the Saudi capital, and the separatists of the Southern Transitional Council (STC). It provides for the sharing of power in southern Yemen with the separatists of the STC, supported economically and militarily by the United Arab Emirates, as well as the formation of a new government by the prime minister and the appointment of a new governor in Aden, provisional capital of the country. The aim is to resolve part of the inter-Yemeni conflict in this way and to focus the action of the government of Hadi and of Saudi Arabia against the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran.

→ READ. In Yemen, the “endless war”

Nine months after the signing, however, nothing had yet been put in place, with separatists and pro-government forces continuing to clash in the south. The tweet of the STC spokesperson on Wednesday July 29 indicating that the Council was giving up its autonomy in certain regions of the south and was ready to implement the Riyadh agreement is therefore a sign of a new change of camp among separatists, for a time supporters of the Houthi camp. President Hadi immediately responded by appointing a new police commander and a new governor in Aden.

► Why do the separatists decide to approach the government today?

This reversal of the separatists, when they were rather in a position of strength against the government following the takeover, on June 22, of the island of Socotra, off Aden, is undoubtedly a sign of the United Arab Emirates involvement. ” This gives the impression that the separatists cannot afford to exceed certain limits, and that they have had to respond to probable pressure from the Emirates. “, Advances François Frison-Roche, researcher at the CNRS. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia recently conducted negotiations to appease the Yemeni conflict, with the Saudis taking part.

► What to expect from this decision vis-à-vis the outcome of the current conflict in Yemen?

Even if the Riyadh agreement is ultimately successful, the inter-Yemeni dissensions go beyond those between the government and the STC. ” The Council is not recognized by much of the southerners, who rally with other separatist leaders. The latter are unlikely to recognize the recently appointed governor », Explains the researcher.

→ THE FACTS. In Yemen, the separatists of the south take their “autonomy”

In addition, the STC declared its independence in part of the southern territories at the end of April, when the region was decimated by floods and the coronavirus epidemic. Unable to manage the situation better than the government in exile, the STC has discredited itself with some of its supporters. It is therefore not guaranteed that the separatists in the south will all rally together in the conflicts against the Houthi rebels, nor that this agreement will lead to an end to the Yemeni war which has killed more than 100,000 people in five years.

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