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Saturday 16 November 2019

Riyadh Agreement is making an impact

Usama Ziafat. 

Peace in the Arabian peninsula is finally in sight with the signing of Riyadh Agreement between the Yemeni government and separatists. Although the settlement is yet to take shape, it is finally making an impact on the lives of people who suffered from the protracted fighting.

Yemen faced a miserable outlook when it was attacked by the political forces known as the ‘Houthis’. The United Nations repeatedly expressed concern over the fragile situation that has killed thousands of people including children. 

Then came the effort to restore peace. The president of the internationally recognized government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) both signed an agreement over power-sharing – also referred to as the Riyadh Agreement. It was initiated by Saudi Arabia as an attempt to ease the tensions and to restrain the airstrikes in Yemen with hopes to discontinue attacks on Saudi Arabia by the Houthis. 

The Riyadh agreement is still open to amendments and discussion. This initiative can bring peace in Yemen and lead to a settlement that can introduce positive changes and make a positive impact on Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Signing of the Riyadh Agreement
Signing of the Riyadh Agreement (Handout Photo)

This means that if this political settlement reaches a positive conclusion in Yemen, it can reduce the gap between the factions and the forces while making way for further negotiations. If this, however, does not materialize, the consequences can be disastrous for the already suffering civilians.

It was back in 2014 when the Houthis began to rebel against Yemen. The southern port city of Aden and Riyadh became their prime target. The event took more complex turns after the military intervention of Saudi Arabia. In 2016, Riyadh agreed to help Yemen fight this rebellious war against the Houthis. Initially, the Emiratis were in favor of Hadi and supported STC. Later, STC turned its back and the Houthis took advantage of the whole situation. 

The situation in the Arabian peninsula has markedly improved. Riyadh responded positively after Houthis asked Saudis to limit their restrictions and lift the blockade on imports to certain areas in Yemen. The Saudis have realized the impact of the situation after a shocking response from the US security umbrella. As a result, they called upon stopping the ongoing war by any financial or political means. 

Yemen is now in hopes of a political settlement that might follow the Riyadh agreement. Talks to settle matters between the Hadi government and the Houthis are still in progress with the ultimate goal of a cease-fire.

Two conclusions can be made from the present situation. Either the power-sharing deal will pursue Hadi and STC to generate peace talks or it will cause more commotion. The road to peace is definitely long for Yemen. 

But if both sides show a willingness to a cease-fire while accepting the peace agreement, it can pave the way for a political settlement between Yemen and Saudi Arabia while improving the economic situation of the region. The settlement will also facilitate the Hadi government and will help the emerging forces such as Houthis to wind down the whole situation on peaceful terms. 

The main responsibility falls with Saudi Arabia’s ability to proceed with the negotiations. With the proposed agreement, there’s still more convincing to be done. However, the outcome would be decided by the Yemenis. And if any issues are left unresolved, they will have the potential of stirring up more conflicts.

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