Joint Saudi-UAE committee arrives in Aden to discuss separatists’ withdrawal (sources)

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — A joint Saudi-Emirati military committee arrived in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Thursday to discuss the withdrawal of southern separatist forces from positions they seized in the city last week, sources said.

A source in the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi told AFP that the committee arrived in Aden “to discuss the issue of the withdrawal of the security belt forces from the camps and government headquarters that took control of them.”

A source in the Southern Transitional Council confirmed the arrival of the committee, explaining “we will hold meetings with it” without further details.

Yemeni separatists seized control of the presidential palace in Aden and key military positions of the Hadi government in the city last week.

The security belt is linked to the transitional council and is supported by the UAE, the main partner of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen since 2015.

The United Nations said on Sunday about 40 people were killed and 260 wounded in the fighting in Aden.

The dispatch comes after a visit by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan to Saudi Arabia on Monday and his meeting with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Abu Dhabi’s crown prince on Monday reiterated the call for dialogue, saying it was “the only way” to resolve differences.

The Yemeni government on Wednesday demanded the withdrawal of southern separatists from positions they seized in Aden before any political dialogue with them.

The southern separatist council confirmed its readiness for the dialogue called for by Riyadh, but has so far shown no willingness to withdraw from the positions it controlled.

The south was an independent state until unity with the north in 1990.

According to security sources close to the Southern Transitional Council, it currently controls in Aden five camps belonging to the Yemeni government, the presidential palace in addition to the Prime Minister’s building.

Aden has been the provisional capital of the government since the Houthi rebels took control of Sanaa in September 2014.

This is not the first time that the separatists of the Southern Transitional Council have clashed with units loyal to President Hadi.

In January 2018, Aden witnessed fierce fighting between separatists and government forces, killing 38 people and injuring more than 220 others.

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