Gov­ern­ment of Ye­men is back in Aden

The National - News - - FRONT PAGE - ALI MAH­MOOD

Ye­men’s gov­ern­ment re­turned to Aden yes­ter­day – a sig­nif­i­cant step to­wards im­ple­ment­ing a power-shar­ing deal with the South­ern Tran­si­tional Coun­cil.

Prime Min­is­ter Maeen Saeed ar­rived at Aden air­port with sev­eral Cabi­net mem­bers in­clud­ing his deputy, Salem Al Khan­bashi, and the min­is­ters of fi­nance, higher ed­u­ca­tion, elec­tric­ity and en­ergy, and en­dow­ments.

The gov­er­nor of the cen­tral bank and sev­eral ju­nior of­fi­cials re­turned with the prime min­is­ter, a gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial told The Na­tional.

“The prime min­is­ter and his team will start work­ing from the gov­ern­ment seat in the pres­i­den­tial palace in the Masheeq area in Aden,” the of­fi­cial said.

The gov­ern­ment is re­turn­ing to Aden for the first time since Au­gust, when forces al­lied to the STC seized the port city and other south­ern ar­eas af­ter clashes with gov­ern­ment troops.

“The gov­ern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties are to nor­malise the sit­u­a­tion in Aden first and then con­sol­i­date state in­sti­tu­tions on the ground ... as a guar­an­tor of sta­bil­ity,” Mr Saeed said.

The gov­ern­ment of­fi­cial said the min­is­ters would start work on re­sum­ing the pay­ment of employee salaries and restor­ing ba­sic ser­vices.

Pres­i­dent Ab­drabu Mansur Hadi and STC leader Ai­darous Al Zoubaidi signed a pow­er­shar­ing agree­ment in Riyadh on Novem­ber 5 to set­tle dif­fer­ences be­tween the two sides. The deal paves the way for gov­ern­ment and STC forces to re­sume their al­liance against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels who seized the cap­i­tal, Sanaa, in late 2014, trig­ger­ing the civil war.

In a new es­ca­la­tion, the rebels yes­ter­day seized two South Korean ves­sels.

“At 2am on Mon­day, the Houthi mili­tia seized two South Korean ships, one car­ry­ing drilling equip­ment and its 28-per­son crew, which is formed of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties, and a tanker car­ry­ing 500,000 bar­rels of oil and its crew,” Col Wathah Al Dubaish told The Na­tional.

“This proves that the Houthi rebels have no real de­sire to se­ri­ously en­gage in the peace process,” he said.

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