Joint committee formed to reorganise Yemeni forces under Riyadh agreement

Government and southern forces to merge and be placed under control of ministries

Saudi forces stand guard during the arrival of Yemen's Prime Minister in Aden on November 18, 2019. Yemen's prime minister returned to the southern city of Aden under a peace deal with southern separatists who drove the government out of its provisional capital in August. / AFP / Saleh Al-OBEIDI

A  committee was formed in Aden on Sunday to reorganise military and security forces under a power-sharing agreement between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council, an STC official told The National.

The Saudi-led Arab Coalition supporting Yemen's government against Iran-backed Houthi rebels will be a third party on the committee.

“The joint committee will be led by the Coalition and equally includes military representatives from the government and the STC,” the official said

“Our representative team includes seven military and security commanders."

The power-sharing agreement signed in Riyadh on November 5 aims to resolve differences between the government and STC, which led to clashes in August.

Under the Riyadh agreement, pro-government forces that advanced from northern Yemen towards the southern provinces of Aden, Abyan and Shabwa at the start of August must return to their original areas.

Militias of local residents will be in charge of protecting the three provinces.

The joint committee will oversee the redeployment of military and security forces in Aden, the seat of government after the Iran-backed rebels seized the capital, Sanaa, in 2014.

Forces stationed in the city will be disarmed and leave under the direction of the Coalition.

Troops from the military's First Presidential Protection Brigade will be posted in Aden to guard the government, while troops from pro-STC forces will remain in the city to protect the group's officials.

The agreement requires the military forces from both sides to be reorganised and placed under the Defence Ministry, while security and counter-terrorism forces will be merged and placed under the Interior Ministry.

All military forces will be moved to camps outside the main cities in Aden, Abyan and Shabwa as the locally raised forces take over.

Prime Minister Maeen Saeed and members of his Cabinet returned to Aden last week.

The Riyadh agreement will give the STC equal representation in the government and paves the way for both sides to resume their alliance in fighting against the Houthis.