A Saudi-led coalition joint force will monitor a ceasefire between separatists, backed by UAE, and the Hadi administration in Abyan province, where fighting has raged over the past six months.

Yemeni army soldiers are seen after clashes in the southern province of Abyan with UAE-backed southern separatist forces, in Marib, Yemen, August 31, 2019.
Yemeni army soldiers are seen after clashes in the southern province of Abyan with UAE-backed southern separatist forces, in Marib, Yemen, August 31, 2019. (Reuters)

The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen has said it deployed troops in the province of Abyan to monitor a ceasefire between the internationally recognised government and the southern separatists.

Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and the United Arab Emirates-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) have agreed on a ceasefire and they will begin talks in Saudi Arabia on implementing a peace deal, the coalition said earlier this week.

The government, based in the southern port of Aden, and the separatists are nominal allies in the Saudi-led coalition, which has been at war against the Iran-aligned Houthis that have controlled north Yemen since 2014.

Split in Saudi-led coalition

However, the STC declared self-rule in April, and the two sides have been fighting in Aden and other southern regions, complicating UN efforts to forge a permanent ceasefire to the overall conflict.

As part of the deal, a coalition's joint force will deploy to monitor the ceasefire in Abyan province where the fighting has raged over the past six months, along with the neighbouring oil-producing region of Shabwa.

Troops from the joint force arrived on Wednesday in Abyan, the Saudi-owned TV channel Al Arabiya reported, adding that both sides are committed to the ceasefire.

Saudi Arabia is trying to reunite its coalition's factions as violence escalates in the north of the country, with the Houthi group firing ballistic missiles on Riyadh for the first time since the Covid-19 unilateral truce ended last month.

READ MORE: Yemen Houthis fire missiles at Riyadh, Saudis thwart attack

Tensions escalated between the STC and the government of Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi since last week when the separatists seized control of Socotra, a Yemeni island in the Arabian Sea, deposing its governor and driving out forces of the government.

UN chief urges pressure to bring Yemen's parties to talks

The UN chief called for more pressure to be applied to Yemen's warring parties to come together to arrange a ceasefire in the war that has cost more than 10,000 lives and displaced 2 million people in the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

Yemeni people are “suffering terribly” and Covid-19 is worsening their situation, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press.

He spoke before a closed briefing to the UN Security Council by UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths, on Wednesday afternoon.

Guterres said the UN has been working to bring the parties together and has been promoting “confidence-building measures, namely in relation to the use of the airport, the harbours, the payment of salaries and at the same time the beginning of a political process.”

“I’m still confident that that is possible," the secretary-general said, “and we need to put all pressure on the parties to the conflict and all relevant actors in order to make sure that the intense discussions that we have had in this regard lead to a positive outcome.”

Humanitarian crisis

In addition to the ongoing war, Yemen is also facing a dire humanitarian crisis.

A UN humanitarian appeal for Yemen this month fell $1 billion short of what aid agencies needed.

Some 75 percent of UN programmes for the country, covering essentially every sector, from food to health care and nutrition, have shut their doors or reduced operations. The World Food Program had to cut rations in half and UN-funded health services were reduced in nearly 200 hospitals nationwide.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies