Yemen’s so-called separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) early on Sunday announced it would establish self-rule in regions under their control, which the Saudi-backed government also warned would have “catastrophic consequences”.
The move threatens to renew the conflict between nominal allies in Yemen’s multifaceted war as the United Nations is trying to secure a permanent truce to combat the coronavirus pandemic in a country weakened by hunger and disease.
In a Twitter post on Sunday, Chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Committee of Yemen Mohammed Ali al-Houthi said the move was an armed rebellion and a breach of the Riyadh Agreement.
Last year, the STC, which is backed by Riyadh’s main coalition partner the United Arab Emirates, turned on the government of former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and seized Aden, with violence spilling over to other southern areas.
Saudi Arabia brokered a deal in November between them to form a more inclusive government and place all forces under state control, but the new cabinet has not been formed.
“The announcement by the so-called transitional council of its intention to establish a southern administration is a resumption of its armed insurgency ... and an announcement of its rejection and complete withdrawal from the Riyadh agreement,” the former government’s so-called foreign minister Mohammed Al-Hadhrami said in a ministry statement on Twitter.
The STC “will bear alone the dangerous and catastrophic consequences for such an announcement”, the statement said.