Yemen troop redeployment on track, says Saudi-led Arab alliance

Cairo: Redeployment of military forces in southern Yemen is going well under a long-delayed deal between the government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a Saudi-led Arab alliance has said.

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In November last year, the Yemeni government and the STC signed the Saudi-brokered pact, officially dubbed the Riyadh Agreement that ended a months-long feud between both sides to refocus efforts on fighting Al Houthi militia.

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The alliance started Thursday supervising the redeployment process as part of the power-sharing deal.

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“The process of the troops’ separation and exit from the cities of Abyan and Aden is going well and according to the plan,” the alliance said, according to the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV.

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The alliance, which is fighting Al Houthis, added that both the Yemeni government and the STC are fully committed to implementing the military part of the Riyadh Agreement.

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The accord also provides for forming a 24-strong government equally composed from Yemen’s southern and northern provinces, excluding Al Houthis.

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An alliance official last week said that the Yemeni sides have reached a consensus on forming the government including STC and other Yemeni political factions.

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New government

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The alliance Thursday set a week for completing the troop redeployment to be followed by announcing the new government.

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The UAE has renewed backing for the pact. “The implementation of the Riyadh Agreement remains one of the important steps in constructive political dealing with the Yemeni crisis,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr Anwar Gargash said in a tweet. ”For Yemen, it is necessary that political efforts of sisterly Saudi Arabia and the UN succeed over the irrational petty conflicts on the ground,” he added.

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Al Houthis, aligned with Iran, have plunged Yemen into a devastating conflict after they toppled the internationally recognised government and overran the capital Sana’a in late 2014.

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