Coalition to deploy ceasefire observers to southern Yemen

The announcement comes off the heels of a deal to put the Riyadh agreement back on track and end fighting between government and separatist forces

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 11, 2020, fighters from of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) gesture following clashes with Saudi-backed government forces in the Sheikh Salim area in the southern Abyan province. On top of war and the coronavirus pandemic, Yemen faces looming economic disaster as a crisis gripping its main benefactor Saudi Arabia dents remittances and leaves state coffers running dry. / AFP / Nabil HASAN
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The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen said on Wednesday that it has deployed troops in Abyan province to monitor a ceasefire between the government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

Yemen’s government and the STC have agreed on a ceasefire to end weeks of fighting and they will begin talks in Saudi Arabia on implementing a peace deal and power-sharing agreement, the coalition said earlier this week.

The government, based in the southern port of Aden, and the southern separatists are nominal allies in the Saudi-led coalition, which has been at war against the Iran-aligned Houthis that have controlled north Yemen since 2014.

However, the STC declared self-rule in April and the two sides have been fighting in Aden and other southern regions, further complicating UN efforts to forge a permanent ceasefire in Yemen.

The STC accuse elements within the government from the Islah Party, of undermining security and funding terrorists leading to high-profile Al Qaeda attacks on the southerners last year that killed several high-ranking military officials.

The new talks aim to get the Riyadh agreement – agreed in Saudi Arabia to resolve issues in the government late last year – back on track.

As part of the deal, a coalition's joint force will deploy to monitor the ceasefire in Abyan province where the fighting has raged in recent months, along with the neighbouring oil-producing region of Shabwa.

Troops from the joint force arrived on Wednesday in Abyan, the Al Arabiya channel reported, adding that both sides are committed to the ceasefire.

Saudi Arabia is trying to reunite its coalition's factions as violence escalates in the north of the country, with the Houthi group firing ballistic missiles on Riyadh for the first time since the Covid-19 unilateral truce ended last month.