Yemen’s Deputy PM to Asharq Al-Awsat: 2 Days Separate us from Riyadh Agreement
Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Salem Al Khanbashi told Asharq Al-Awsat on Friday that the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) would officially sign the “Riyadh Agreement” in the coming days.
The deputy PM praised the role played by Riyadh in sponsoring the indirect talks between the government and the STC with an aim to unite the Yemeni fronts against Houthi militias.
“Thanks to its wisdom and skills, Saudi Arabia was able to help the legitimate government and the STC reach an agreement and overcome this second crisis. Now, the two sides should liberate Yemen and fight their common enemy,” the deputy PM said.
Khanbashi did not reveal details on the “Riyadh Agreement,” saying most leaked reports about the paper were not accurate.
“The agreement was signed in principle, but an official signing is expected Saturday or Sunday during a ceremony attended by high-ranking officials,” he said.
The success of the talks held in the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah between representatives of the two sides is expected to end a crisis that started last August when the STC seized control of Aden following days of fighting with government forces.
Khanbashi, who is a leader in the General People's Congress Party (GPC), responded to a question on the party.
“After the Houthi coup, some GPC leaders fled to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE while others remained in Sanaa.”
“The killing of the party’s leader Ali Abdullah Saleh constituted a blow to the party,” he said.
“Before the Hajj season, all GPC sides, excluding those leaders who remained in Sanaa, were invited to Jeddah, where they held talks for a week under the auspices of Saudi Arabia,” Khanbashi said.
“There were several points we agreed on. We were supposed to resume talks after the Hajj season. However, we were surprised by the Aden events, which complicated our gathering,” he explained.
Commenting on the Yemeni riyal, the deputy PM said that the government was able to stop the depreciation of the currency through a series of measures, mainly to halt pumping any cash flow by the Central Bank in the market.