[ADEN – 17 February 2020] In recent weeks there have been ongoing challenges with the implementation of the power sharing arrangement between the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and the government of Yemen – known as the Riyadh Agreement. This period has seen dangerous incidents that have threatened the stability of the South, including through an uptake in extremist attacks by AQAP and ISIS, and risk the diplomatic progress achieved previously. 

The power sharing arrangement was secured in response to the facts on the ground. The STC signed the Riyadh Agreement with full commitment in its implementation. In concrete terms, we have delivered some important elements of the Agreement. Notably we facilitated the return of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of the government to Aden; redeployed Southern forces and allowed inspections of military sites; was at the forefront in the release of detainees; and intensified our diplomacy, including by maintaining a negotiating team to continue engagement with the Yemeni government.

The Agreement was ambitious from the onset. This was a challenge we were willing to accept given the needs of our people, and of our vision to play a decisive role in ending the civil war in Yemen. Despite our constructive approach, we have faced intransigence and blockages in moving the implementation process forward. This has included the movement of government troops towards Aden that would have caused instability on the ground, as well as credible reports of human rights violations in Abyan and Shabwa at the hands of government forces. And important steps such as appointment of new Governors and security chiefs for the South remain on hold despite our efforts to move on those issues.

Against this backdrop, the STC’s focus is on finding a breakthrough to the impasse. Our commitment to the political solution remains clear. As we have stated, the Riyadh Agreement is a key stepping stone to the broader UN-led political process. All sides now have a critical but small window of opportunity to bring the focus and effort onto implementation of the Agreement. Immediate action is needed to breathe confidence in the process. This needs to lead to tangible progress on the ground for our people, including on improvements in delivery of basic services, good governance, and reassurances on Southern needs being fully addressed through the political track.

We urgently call on our international partners to support this approach, including to use their relationships and leverage in the region to unlock the intransigence. Despite the current bleak outlook for the resumption of UN talks in the near future, the STC’s steadfast focus remains to engage constructively and effectively in support of UN Envoy Martin Griffiths to convene the parties for a viable negotiated political solution.

Southern Transitional Council

General Department of Foreign Affairs

Al-Tawahi, Aden

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