South Yemen separatists declare ceasefire with government forces in Shabwa

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Separatists in southern Yemen have declared a two-day ceasefire in clashes with government forces in Shabwa province.

The Southern Transitional Council said in a statement that it “calls on all parties in the Shabwa governorate to exercise restraint and abide by the ceasefire call called for by the Arab coalition leadership.”

However, the statement added that the council calls on “all southern forces to remain in their positions and maintain public and private institutions and property, and at the same time warns any force against attempting to attack coalition forces, and stresses that they will be subject to the issue before the Southern Transitional Council.”

The UAE-backed separatists seized the port city of Aden, the temporary seat of the Saudi-backed government, earlier this month and extended their control to neighboring Abyan province last week.

The separatists and the government are part of a Saudi-led coalition that intervened in Yemen in 2015 to fight the Houthi group that ousted President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi’s government from power in the capital Sanaa in late 2014.

But separatists in the Southern Transitional Council, seeking autonomy for the south, attacked the government after accusing a party allied with Hadi of complicity in a Houthi attack on southern forces.

Saudi Arabia has called for a summit to end the standoff, which has complicated UN efforts to end the war.

The crisis has exposed differences between regional allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which in June reduced their presence in Yemen, while still supporting thousands of separatist southern fighters.

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