Zubaidi in Saudi Arabia to discuss implementation of Riyadh Agreement

STC chief’s visit to Riyadh comes after a recent round of attacks on Aden launched by forces loyal to the Yemeni government.
Wednesday 20/05/2020
A file picture of President of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) Aidarous al-Zubaidi as he speaks at the STC national assembly meeting in Mukalla. (AFP)
A file picture of President of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) Aidarous al-Zubaidi as he speaks at the STC national assembly meeting in Mukalla. (AFP)

ADEN – Southern Transitional Council (STC) President Aidarous al-Zubaidi’s visit to Riyadh reflected the Saudi-led Arab coalition’s efforts to push for the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement on Yemen signed in November.

Zubaidi’s visit came after a recent round of attacks on Aden launched by the Yemeni government, which is dominated by Al Islah party, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

In a statement upon his arrival in Riyadh, Zubaidi, stressed the STC’s commitment to its alliance with the Arab Coalition in its quest to “confront any disruptive projects that target the Arab national security.”

Zubaidi also stressed “the strength of the fraternal ties that bind our southern people to the leadership and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Fighters loyal to Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) reopen a highway in the southern Abyan province on May 18.  (AFP)
Fighters loyal to Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) reopen a highway in the southern Abyan province on May 18.  (AFP)

He expressed hope that the visit, upon official invitation from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, “will produce the desired results, especially with regard to addressing the humanitarian and political issues.”

The nature of Zubaidi’s visit to Riyadh confirms previous Arab Weekly reporting that the trip would focus on the latest developments in southern Yemen, including military clashes in Abyan governorate and a dispute with the Yemeni coast guard.

The visit came after successive attacks by Muslim Brotherhood-backed government forces on Abyan, east of Aden.

Qatar and Turkey, which support forces loyal to the government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, are escalating conflict in southern Yemen as they struggle to advance their agendas in the war-hit country.

On April 25, the STC declared a plan to establish self-rule in Aden and other areas under its control, blaming the Yemeni government of intransigence and mismanaging the country’s many crises.

Salem Thabet al-Awlaki, a member of the STC Presidency, said that protecting southerners’ political and social rights was on the top of Zubaidi’s agenda during his visit to Riyadh.

“The bet of the Muslim Brotherhood-backed forces on a military resolution was wrong as they accumulated political and military losses that added to the suffering of the Yemeni people amid the spread of epidemics and diseases,” he said.

The Brotherhood’s Islah party, which dominates Hadi’s government, was dealt a blow when they attacked Abyan two days earlier and faced stiff resistance from STC forces.

“The leadership of the Southern Transitional Council is heading to Riyadh, the capital of the Arab decision, in response to a kind invitation to consult on the best possible ways to achieves security and stability,” said Ahmed Omar bin Farid, head of the Foreign Relations Council of the STC in Europe.

Yemen map

Abyan has recently been the centre point of Yemen’s fiercest clashes since August 2019.

Yemeni journalist Yasser Al-Yafie described Zubaidi’s visit to Riyadh as “an important event” and expressed hope that “it will produce positive results to fix the situation and return matters to normal after the efforts of the Muslim Brotherhood and corrupt militias to control options of the Arab Coalition in the capital Aden.”

“The Muslim Brotherhood that is in control of the government was dealt a blow in Abyan. As the equation has changed, Islamists’ dreams of entering Aden evaporated,” he said.

Attacks on Aden by Muslim Brotherhood-backed forces are viewed by many observers as a waste of times and resources, aimed at confusing the intervention of the Arab-led coalition at a time when Iran-backed Houthis are in control of Al-Jouf, threatening an attack on Marib and preparing to launch a new offensive against in Al-Bayda.