Sat - 15 Aug 2020 - 11:13 PM

written by : *Saleh Baidhani Writer Archive -

A Saudi military committee has arrived in the interim Yemeni capital, Aden, to oversee the implementation of the security and military part of the Riyadh Agreement signed between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council.

Well-informed Yemeni sources said that the work of the Saudi committee will proceed in parallel with the consultations conducted by the Prime Minister-designate, Maeen Abdul-Malik, to form a new government of 24 portfolios that will be distributed equally between North and South Yemen.

The sources indicated that the new government will not be announced until after the completion of the military and security arrangements, which include the withdrawal of military forces from Aden and Abyan, and giving the task of maintaining security to security forces, while the military forces will be redeployed in the areas of confrontation with the Houthi militia.

The efforts led by Saudi Arabia to implement the Riyadh Agreement and end the state of conflict in the anti-Houthi camp in Yemen coincide with UN and international moves to reach a final formula for a comprehensive peace agreement in Yemen.

The official Twitter account of the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, reported that the UN official Griffiths concluded a visit to Riyadh where he held a series of meetings with Yemeni and Saudi officials “as part of the ongoing mediation processto reach agreement on a joint declaration by the Yemeni Government and Ansar Allah to a ceasefire, humanitarian and economic measures and the political process’s resumption.”

Diplomatic sources revealed to The Arab Weekly that Griffiths presented a draft, amended for the third time, of the joint declaration between the government and the Houthis, which has taken into considerations some of the reservations voiced by the Yemeni Government on previous drafts, in addition to a set of amendments according to the observations of the Houthi side. Griffiths is expected to meet again with the Houthis in Sanaa or the Omani capital, Muscat.

A few days ago, the Prime Minister-designate embarked on consultations to form the government through a meeting with the leadership of the Southern Transitional Council in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, in addition to meetings with leaders of political parties, the Presidency of the House of Representatives and advisers to the Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who left Wednesday evening for the United States of America seeking medical treatment.

Regarding the delay that the absence of the Yemeni president might cause to the process of implementing the Riyadh Agreement, a source close to the Yemeni presidency told The Arab Weekly that the time frame set by the Saudi government’s mechanism to accelerate the formation of a new government and implement the military and security component at the same time is thirty days from the date of the start of the consultations to form the government, and it is expected that President Hadi will return from his medical trip before the end of this period.

Yemeni political sources suggested that the deadline for forming the government and implementing the military and security part of the Riyadh Agreement would be extended, given the complications that still hinder the progress in the timetable for implementing the terms of the agreement, and the expected disagreements about which ministerial portfolios will go to which component, followed by discussions of the candidates nominated for the ministerial positions, in addition to the complexities of implementing the security and military side of the agreement, in light of the lack of trust reigning between the two signatories and the emergence of a Qatari-backed current opposing the Riyadh agreement from within the Yemeni government.

Wanting to overcome the difficulties that may hinder the implementation of the agreement, Riyadh has, in the past few days, invited to the consultations various Yemeni political figures and party leaders, including leaders in the Yemeni government who have openly rejected any rapprochement with the Southern Transitional Council and hinted at resorting to the option of political and military escalation. Thus, the leaders of what has become known as the Doha current in the Yemeni government, namely Minister of the Interior Ahmed al-Maysari, resigned Minister of Transport Saleh al-Jabwani and deputy speaker of Parliament Abdulaziz Jabbari, have all arrived in Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia’s keenness, according to diplomatic sources, to unify the front against the Houthi coup, stems from a reading of the accelerating transformations in the Yemeni scene in terms of changes in UN and international positions and military transformations on the ground in light of the government camp being engrossed in internal conflicts, which enabled the Houthis to shift the power equation on the groundin their favour by taking control of al-Jawf Governorate, Nihm region and parts of al-Bayda Governorate, and tightening of the noose around Marib Governorate, which is being subjected to unprecedented Houthi attacks.

UN envoy Martin Griffiths is betting on shifts in the regional and international settings in addition to the accelerating changes on the ground to try and impose an international formula for a solution in Yemen. It is likely that tremendous American and European pressure will be exerted to have this formula pass the UN Security Council even if it receives a minimum level of reservations by the Yemeni and regional parties involved in the Yemeni file.

Yemeni observers point out that there is a direct link between regional backing and international support that the Riyadh agreement enjoys as a complement to the Stockholm agreements signed between the government and the Houthis.

The UN envoy deals with all these agreements as one package that sets the ground for acceptance of his initiative for a comprehensive solution in Yemen, which happens to be in its last phase of preparation before its approval by the UN Security Council, despite having been rejected in its current form by the Yemeni “legitimacy” camp and the broad Houthi reservations about its provisions, in addition to demands by the Southern Transitional Council to be included in any consultations for the final solution as the representative of the southern cause, an aspect that is rejected by other southern components with a smaller presence on the ground.

* Saleh Baidhani is a Yemeni Writer, journalist and an Arab Weekly contributor.

Published by The Arab Weekly on Saturday August 15, 2020. The views expressed in this article represent the author alone.