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Riyadh Agreement Paves Way for New Political, Security Arrangements in Yemen

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R), Yemen President, Hadi (C) and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan before signing the Riyadh agreement. (SPA)

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz sponsored on Tuesday the signing of the Riyadh agreement between the legitimate Yemeni government and Southern Transitional Council (STC).

The signatories committed to reviving the role of all state institutions according to the political and economic arrangements. They also committed to reorganizing the military forces under the command of the Defense Ministry.

Security forces would come under the command of the Interior Ministry.

The ceremony was attended by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and STC chief Aidarous al-Zubaidi and several senior officials.

The signatories committed to shunning division and discrimination based on sect among the Yemeni people. They agreed to halting all harmful media campaigns and uniting efforts under the command of the Saudi-led Arab coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen.

The agreement calls for the formation of a committee, overseen by the alliance, to follow up on its implementation.

The STC will also join the government delegation that would hold consultations to reach a final political agreement in Yemen to end the Iran-backed Houthi coup.

On the political level, the Riyadh agreement calls for the formation of a 24-minister government. Portfolios will be distributed equally between northern and southern provinces. The prime minister has a 30-day deadline to complete the task.

Ministers must be appointed based on competency, qualification and integrity. They must also not have been involved in any of the fighting that took place in the interim capital Aden, or the southern Shabwa and Abyan provinces.

Hadi is tasked with appointing a governor and security chief for the Aden province within 15 days of the signing of the Riyadh agreement. He also has 30 days to appoint a governor for Abyan and Dhale.

The prime minister must assume his duties in Aden within seven days of the signing of the agreement. He is tasked with releasing salaries of military and security personnel in Aden and all liberated regions. He will also reactivate state institutions in order to restore normalcy to the lives of the residents.

On the military level, all forces that mobilized from their camps towards Aden, Shabwa and Abyan since August 2019 are ordered to return to their previous positions within a 15-day deadline.

All medium and heavy weapons will be collected from security and military forces in Aden within 15 days. They will be transferred to camps within the interim capital that will be overseen by the Arab coalition. No arms can be removed from the camps without the authorization of the alliance.

All military forces loyal to the government and STC will be transferred to camps outside of Aden to locations provided by the Arab coalition. This excludes the personnel tasked with protecting the president.

Military and security forces from both sides would be placed under the defense and interior ministries.

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