Yemen govt strikes deal with southern rebels



Yemen’s southern separatists have struck a power-sharing deal with the internationally-recognized government aimed at ending the conflict between the two sides, sources said Friday. The deal would see the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC) handed a number of ministries, and the government return to the southern city of Aden, according to officials and reports in Saudi media.
Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ekhbariya TV channel said a government of 24 ministers would be formed, “divided equally between the southern and northern governorates of Yemen.” Under the deal, the Yemeni prime minister would return to Aden to “reactivate state institutions,” it added.
Al-Ekhbariya said the Arab coalition which backs the Yemeni government against the Houthis would oversee a “joint committee” to implement the agreement.
Security Belt Forces — dominated by the STC — in August took control of Aden, which had served as the government’s base since it was ousted from the capital Sanaa by the Iran-backed Houthis in 2014.
The clashes between the separatists and government forces — who for years fought on the same side against the Houthis — had raised fears the country could break apart entirely.
The warring factions have in recent weeks been holding indirect and discreet talks mediated by Saudi Arabia in the kingdom’s western city of Jeddah. “We signed the final draft of the agreement and are waiting for the joint signature within days,” an STC official currently in Riyadh told AFP.