Hopes for peace in Yemen as government, separatists agree to halt fighting

Members of southern Yemeni separatist forces cheer after clashes with government troops

Members of southern Yemeni separatist forces cheer after clashes with government troops

The government of Yemen has reached a power-sharing agreement with separatists in the south of the country. A picture of Saudi Arabia's founder late King Abdul Aziz Al Saud hangs on wall.

The United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, said the deal would propel efforts to end the wider civil war that has devastated the country.

The statement underscored the importance of Yemeni forces joining hands, cooperating, and prioritising the higher national interest to take on the threats that Yemen has faced, primarily from the Houthi militias.

Riyadh had reportedly hoped for a quick win against the Houthis, but instead waded into a quagmire that has cost it billions of dollars and hurt its reputation, while devastating the Arab world's poorest country.

Saudi Arabia's state TV broadcast the signing ceremony in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Al-Othaimeen congratulated President Hadi for his efforts in reaching the agreement and his role in unifying the ranks and activating the Yemeni state institutions to serve Yemen with all its segments.

The deal was brokered by Saudi Arabia - and aims to end months of violence between government forces and UAE-backed fighters.

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A new cabinet will be formed containing no more than 24 ministers within 30 days and half of these positions must be filled with southern separatist fighters either from STC or other groups.

The war in Yemen has claimed tens of thousands of lives, pushed millions to the brink of starvation, and spawned the world's most devastating humanitarian crisis.

The military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) intervened in Yemen in 2015 as the Houthi rebels closed in on Aden, prompting Hadi to flee into Saudi exile.

"If anything, I think it will be a blueprint or a cornerstone for bringing peace to Yemen altogether", Shakdam said. It prevents a war-within-a-war between the southern separatists and Hadi's government.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz, Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, expressed appreciation of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for the noble sacrifices made by the UAE along with the Saudi forces and the rest of Arab Coalition soldiers across Yemeni territories. Also present was Aidarous al-Zubaidi, the head of the secessionist Southern Transitional Council.

"Saudi Arabia still believes that there is significant risk from the Houthi rebels, but it has not managed to get consistent global support for its intervention in Yemen", Fatima Abo Alasrar, a scholar at the Middle East Institute, told AFP.

In a bid to defuse tensions, the UAE last month handed over to Saudi forces key positions in Aden, including an airbase and the global airport.

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