STC announces plan for self-rule in south Yemen; government calls move 'catastrophic'

ADEN (Reuters) – Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) early on Sunday announced it would establish a self-ruled administration in the regions under their control, which the internationally recognized Saudi-backed government said would have “catastrophic consequences” for a November peace deal.

Under a deal to end the power struggle in south Yemen agreed in Riyadh, the STC and other regions in the south were supposed to join a new national cabinet and place all forces under control of the internationally recognized government. The STC is supported by the United Arab Emirates.

“The Southern Transitional Council announces a self administration rule in the south, as of midnight Saturday, April 25th 2020”, a statement by the STC said early on Sunday.

Emergency rules were also announced in the city of Aden and all the southern governorates, the statement added.

Reuters witnesses reported heavy security deployment of STC armed forces in Aden, the interim capital of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s internationally recognized government which was ousted from the capital Sanaa in 2014 by the Iran-aligned Houthis.

“The announcement by the so-called transitional council of its intention to establish a southern administration is a resumption of its armed insurgency… and an announcement of its rejection and complete withdrawal from the Riyadh agreement,” Yemen’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Al-Hadhrami said in a statement posted by the ministry on Twitter.

“The so-called transitional council will bear alone the dangerous and catastrophic consequences for such an announcement,” the statement added.

STC is part of the Sunni Muslim alliance that intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to restore power to Hadi’s government. But the separatists, who had sought self-rule in the south, turned on the government in August and seized its interim seat of Aden.

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