A dispute emerged between the Yemeni legitimate government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) over priorities related to the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.
The STC clearly said it refuses the entrance of any military forces to Aden before the appointment of a governor and a security director, while the legitimacy says that forces planning to enter the city are part of the presidential guard tasked to protect the presidential palace. Both parties base their arguments on the Riyadh Agreement.
“In line with the Riyadh Agreement, no military personnel can enter Aden before the appointment of a new governor and security director,” STC spokesman Nizar Haitham told Asharq Al-Awsat on Sunday.
He added that on the political level, the government began returning to Aden and wants to resume its work as normal, even though it is a caretaker cabinet that operates only through a Prime Minister.
“They want to enforce a fait accompli, this is not logical,” Haitham said, adding that there are also attempts to mobilize military forces towards Aden before the appointment of a governor and a security director.
“This violates the Agreement and is an attempt to reshuffle the cards,” the STC spokesman said.
Spokesman of the legitimate government, Rajeh Badi told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The Riyadh Agreement stipulates that the First Brigade assumes the mission of protecting the Maasheeq presidential palace and the seat of the government in Aden.”
He said the brigade has so far not been allowed to enter the interim capital.
Last week, Badi affirmed that the government is firmly adhering to the Agreement and is committed to implementing its clauses in line with the specified mechanism. He categorically denied any military mobilization towards Aden as claimed by the STC.
He clarified that a battalion from the presidential guard brigade had departed to Aden from Abyan in accordance to the Riyadh Agreement, which stipulated its return to the interim capital.
However, Haitham denied Badi’s statement. “We received information that the majority of the forces that entered Aden came from Marib and were not part of the brigade. We should get confirmations on these reports.”
He added that the STC negotiating unit was coordinating daily with “our brothers in Saudi Arabia to inform them about the violations committed by the government.”
Last month, Riyadh pushed the STC and Yemen's government to hold reconciliation talks, which succeeded in reaching a deal to form a new technocrat cabinet of no more than 24 ministers.
The Riyadh accord also stipulated the return of the Yemeni government to Aden and the unification of all military units under the authority of the country's interior and defense ministries.