The Riyadh Agreement

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The STC also won an important political victory by consolidating the military defeat inflicted on government forces in the first round of the August 2019 confrontations and ensuring control of three provinces (Aden, Lahj and Dhalea). The STC is now a full partner in the Hadi government and is recognized by the agreement and its sponsors as the strongest of the southern political entities. The agreement in this sense is a qualitative change for the STC, whether it ultimately intends to secede or lead the South as a fully autonomous region as part of a comprehensive political solution. In response to these confrontations, Saudi officials have been conducting negotiations since late May to reset the Riyadh agreement. The resulting plan is not a new agreement, but a mechanism to facilitate and sequence the initial implementation of the initial agreement. The agreement should do two things at the same time. First, and immediately, he was to end the military confrontation between President Abdo Rabbu Mansour Hadi`s forces and STC-allied forces, which had reappeared in August 2019 and allowed the STC to take control of Aden and parts of Shabwa and Abyan. Second, the Riyadh agreement is expected to flatten the differences between Saudi Arabia, the UAE and their two allies on the ground. The first Riyadh Agreement was signed on 23 November 2013 by the King of Saudi Arabia, the Emir of Kuwait and the Emir of Qatar, in which all three promised „no interference in the internal affairs of the Gulf Cooperation Council State“, „no support for dissident groups that oppose their states“, „no support for antagonistic media“, and „no support for the Muslim Brotherhood.“ [or other groups] that threaten the security and stability of Council member States,“ among other safeguards. The heads of state of the other three GCC member states, Bahrain, Oman and Vae, approved the agreement the following day. Nevertheless, the STC`s secessionist objectives are unlikely to dissolve – indeed, the Council could hope that joining Hadi`s government will give it sufficient legitimacy to pursue an offer of secession on the path. The STC`s official statement on the reactivated agreement confirms that the Council will not abandon its ultimate state objective. StC leaders – who have popular support in parts of the South but do not have universal appeal – see secession as a long-term goal that can be better achieved through a political process than through a unilateral declaration.

In this sense (and probably to suppress any dissatisfaction among hard-line secessionists), an STC official tweeted after the announcement that the restoration of a southern state requires „patience and self-control.“ On November 5, 2019, a power-sharing agreement was signed in Riyadh between the Saudi-backed Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi government and the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council. . . .