Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attended the signing of a power-sharing deal between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council on Tuesday in Riyadh.
The agreement was jointly signed on Tuesday by Yemeni President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi and Gen Aidrous Al Zoubaidi, leader of the STC.
“Signing the agreement, which is the fruit of long and relentless efforts exerted by our brothers in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will be a turning point in the battle against the Houthi militia and a new stage towards strengthening relations between the Arab Coalition and the STC,” said Nizar Haitham, spokesman for the STC.
On announcing the deal, Prince Mohammed said it was a step towards a political solution to end the protracted war that has raged since 2015.
The UN special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, congratulated the two sides on the deal, which he said would drive efforts to end the civil war that has devastated the country.
"The signing of this agreement is an important step for our collective efforts to advance a peaceful settlement to the conflict in Yemen," Mr Griffiths said.
The Yemeni government also welcomed the agreement.
The deal includes 50 per cent STC representation in the government, which is to be formed a few days after the signing ceremony.
It also establishes the STC as an official partner of the Arab Coalition and gives it an effective role within the tripartite monitoring committee that will be in charge of overseeing the agreement.
“Under the deal, the Yemeni prime minister will return to Aden [from Saudi Arabia] to reactivate state institutions, and STC-allied forces will be placed under the government’s defence and interior ministries,” the source said.
“All army divisions will be withdrawn from the main cities within two weeks after signing the deal, while other security forces under the government will remain.”
Saleh Al Homaidi, a deputy in Yemen's Ministry of Information, said the agreement was a roadmap for Yemen’s future.
“All the parties are winners with the agreement, and the only loser is the Houthis,” Mr Al Homaidi said.
The Yemeni Minister of Information, Muammar Al Eryani, praised Saudi Arabia's role in reaching a deal.
“We highly appreciate the relentless efforts of our brothers in KSA to accomplish the agreement and work to unite the Yemenis against challenges, especially the Iranian threat and its proxy Houthis,” Mr Al Eryani wrote on Twitter.
The announcement came after an extraordinary meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, led by Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik.