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Opinion and Editorial

KT Edit: Yemen gives peace another chance

Filed on July 30, 2020
Yemen, UAE, region, saudi

(Reuters file photo)

Hostilities have ceased, but much will depend on the fine print of the accord and its implementation between the two sides.

The decision by Yemeni separatists in the south to abandon plans for self-rule is a step in the right direction for a country wracked by decades of civil war and mass displacement. Negotiations between the internationally recognised government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) separatists have resulted in a pact that could ensure an end to violence that was the immediate concern of the people who have endured endless violence and bloodshed. Hostilities have ceased, but much will depend on the fine print of the accord and its implementation between the two sides.

The streak of independence shown by the STC has subsided with this agreement which comes as relief to the people in the country who yearn for some peace, or a semblance of calm. This agreement is an Eid gift for suffering Yemenis who can enjoy the spirit of the festival in harmony and goodwill as the guns go silent. A generation has been lost to war and atrocities. There is rampant starvation as aid agencies struggle to reach the most vulnerable caught in the crossfire between different warring actors. With this agreement, the onus is on the government and the STC to rebuild trust and ensure the deal is not reneged. Institution and infrastructure building could come later. Strains in the alliance had benefited the rebel Houthis in the north of the country.

Unity in the south is vital to confront the threat posed by Iran and its proxy group who have been unpredictable and stubborn during discussions. Fissures in the alliance emerged despite the best efforts of Saudi Arabia to resolve them. Now that the two sides have decided to form a unity government of technocrats that will include STC officials, the south of country with its headquarters in Aden can hope to forge ahead on the path to development. The fallout had led to the parties resorting to violence that had shaken plans to restore order in Yemen. Last November, Saudi Arabia intervened and brought the sides to the table to sign the Riyadh Agreement that was to be a template for a new relationship. Sadly, the pact was violated repeatedly and plunged the south into crisis. The UN, meanwhile, is striving for a negotiated settlement between the government of President Hadi in the south and the Houthis, but to no avail. "There is a real risk that these negotiations will slip away," the Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths told the Security Council on Tuesday. With this pact, there is a united front to confront the threat from the Houthis. There is a sliver of hope for peace. Infighting should not fritter it away, again.

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