Yemen separatists abandon self-rule, push peace deal
Yemeni separatists on Wednesday abandoned their declaration of self-rule in the country's south and pledged to implement a stalled Saudi-brokered peace agreement with the government, a spokesman said.
The Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced self-governance in April after accusing the government of failing to perform its duties and of "conspiring" against the southern cause, pushing the war-ravaged country deeper into crisis.
The breakdown between the one-time allies had complicated a long and separate conflict with Iran-allied Huthi rebels who control much of the country's north.
The STC "announces that it is abandoning its self-rule declaration" to allow the implementation of a power-sharing deal known as the Riyadh Agreement, spokesman Nizar Haitham wrote on Twitter.
He acknowledged the announcement came after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates exerted pressure to row back on their decision.
Saudi Arabia said it had proposed a plan to "accelerate" the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement, the official Saudi Press Agency reported early Wednesday.
The plan calls for the Yemeni prime minister to create a fresh government within 30 days, as well as the appointment of a new governor and security director for the de facto capital Aden.
Yemen's separatists had signed the power-sharing deal in Riyadh last November that sought to quell a battle for the south -- dubbed a "civil war within a civil war".
But the Riyadh pact quickly became defunct, failing to meet deadlines for key measures including forming a new cabinet with equal representation for southerners, and the reorganisation of military forces.
Saudi Arabia's "efforts have succeeded in bringing together the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council in accepting the proposed mechanism by the kingdom to implement the Riyadh agreement," the country's deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman wrote on Twitter.
"[The] efforts in bringing together Yemeni political leaders... and reaching consensus on the mechanism for implementing the Riyadh Agreement shows the possibility of resolving Yemeni differences through dialogue without the use (of) military force."