The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has dissociated itself from the declaration of autonomy announced on Sunday by the Yemeni separatists of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), whom it supports militarily and economically, and has reiterated its support for the agreement signed between the government and the secessionists in November. "Disappointment over the delay in its implementation should not be a reason to change the situation unilaterally. We have absolute confidence in the interest of brotherly Saudi Arabia in the implementation of the Riyadh agreement," said UAE Deputy Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash on Twitter.
For the number two in Emirati's diplomacy, the commitment to the Saudi-sponsored peace pact signed last November represents the "regional and international" vision for a political solution in Yemen. Gargash insisted that Riyadh is a "neighbour and ally" with as much "authenticity and honesty" as possible, and argued that UAE and Saudi Arabia, which is very "concerned" about Yemen, share the same vision for security and stability in the region.
The STC announced the autonomy of southern Yemen on Sunday and declared a state of emergency in all southern provinces, accusing the internationally recognised government of corruption and inability to manage public services in this area. The declaration was a breach of the Riyadh agreement with the government of Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi, who reacted by calling the decision a "coup d'état" on the lines of the August uprising when separatists took over government facilities in Aden. That uprising led to a confrontation that culminated in the Riyadh agreement in November.
The Yemeni government on Sunday warned of "catastrophic" consequences of the decision and called on the Saudi-led coalition, which includes the UAE in support of Al-Hadi in his fight against the Houthis, to assume "its responsibilities".
The coalition reacted on Monday by demanding "an end to any escalation measures and calls on the parties to return to the agreement, stressing the immediate need for its implementation without delay and to prioritise the interests of the Yemeni people.