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The United States renewed its position on the importance of stability in South Yemen during separate meetings with GCC officials. This comes amid major military and security operations launched by the Southern security forces to counter-terrorism in the governorates of Abyan and Shabwa, east of Aden, some of whose rugged areas represent the historical strongholds of the extremist organization.
The latest US position in this regard, which emerged in the meeting that brought together US officials with the Omani Foreign Minister in Muscat, on Tuesday, September 13th.
According to the US State Department for Near Eastern Affairs, the US special envoy to Yemen Tim Lenderking,and the US ambassador to Muscat [Leslie Tsou] met with Omani Foreign Minister Badr Albusaidi.
The State Department said, “They agreed that stability in [South] Yemen is of utmost importance.”
This American assertion to the Omani official seems remarkable in light of the efforts made to secure the stability of South Yemen and to extend and expand the UN truce.
In this regard, Lenderking said that “the United States welcomes Oman’s commitment to support the Yemen truce and all Oman has done to ensure it continues past Oct 2.”
The Omani Foreign Ministry published details of the meeting, but did not mention the US State Department’s talk about the situation in South.
The Omani Foreign Ministry said that the meeting “discussed developments and efforts related to the truce in the sisterly Republic of Yemen and its sustainability, and emphasized the importance of joint work to enhance confidence and constructive dialogue between all parties.”
Arab reports had claimed the existence of a military mobilization of groups affiliated with a tribal sheikh close to the Houthis, and loyal to the Sultanate of Oman in Al-Mahra border governorate with the Sultanate.
Last Tuesday, the US State Department also reported that Lenderking and the first advisor to the UAE President Anwar Gargash, “agreed on the need for stability in South and support for the efforts of the Presidential Leadership Council in providing relief to Yemenis.”
On September 13, the US ambassador to Yemen Steven Fagin discussed with the Yemeni Minister of Interior, in Riyadh, “strengthening US-Yemeni cooperation in border security, law enforcement issues, countering-terrorism, combating smuggling, and developing the capabilities of the Yemeni Coast Guard,” according to the US Embassy tweet.
The US ambassador had virtually met with the PLC member and STC President Aidrous Al-Zubaidi in early September.
The head of the STC Foreign Affairs Department, Mohammad Al-Ghaithi, said earlier that “our friends, partners and allies in the region, and at the international level, must bear their full responsibilities towards our forces’ war against terrorism, and the need to support our forces to confront this extremely dangerous and common threat.”
US and European officials are conducting extensive meetings with several Yemeni parties with the aim of ensuring the extension and expansion of the UN truce in Yemen.
The UN Security Council members had expressed in a statement Tuesday on Yemen, their concern about the “state of instability” in South Yemen.
These diplomatic meetings come after widespread deployments carried out by the pro-STC Southern forces (the Security Belt Forces, the Southern Giants Brigades, Shabwa Defense Forces and the other local security forces) in the governorates of Shabwa and Abyan, which ended with the extension of their control over the two governorates after the loss of the pro-Islah forces, the branch of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Yemen.
On the 32nd anniversary of the founding of the Islah Party, party leader Mohammad al-Yadoumi demanded to “correct” the situation in Shabwa, and to “restore things to normal,” describing the Southern forces as “illegal formations.”
The Southern forces announced during the past month and the current, the “Arrows of the East” operation in Abyan and “Arrows of the South” operations in Shabwa to pursue what it said were “terrorist members” from AQAP, one of the most dangerous branches of Al-Qaeda in the world, according to US officials.
During the two operations, AQAP launched deadly operations targeting security checkpoints and military vehicles of the Southern forces in the districts of Ahwar, Al-Wadhea and Mudiyah in Abyan, and Ataq district in Shabwa, which left dozens of soldiers and seven members of the organization dead and wounded.
AQAP-affiliate Ansar al-Sharia officially claimed the attacks in Ahwar, Al-Wadhea, Mudiyah, and Ataq. Simultaneously, it announced the launch of a counter-operation called “Arrows of Righteousness “Siham al-Haq” to confront what it described as the “UAE-Zionist project.”
The Southern forces said on Wednesday that they had cleared a number of AQAP strongholds in Mudiyah, including Wadi “Oemran”, the largest strongholds of the organization in the governorate.
Early Thursday morning, the Southern forces announced that they had thwarted what they described as a “plot to launch terrorist operations in South.” This was after the Security Belt Forces managed to arrest a civilian vehicle carrying explosive devices, in Sabbah district of Abyan governorate, which was coming from Al-Bayda governorate on its way to Aden.
The Staff of the Security Belt Forces, Brigadier General Jalal Al-Rubaie, said that the operation “comes within the efforts of the Southern Armed Forces in countering-terrorism,” according to the Southern forces’ website.
KSA had “expressed its strong condemnation and denunciation of the terrorist attack that targeted a security checkpoint in Abyan governorate, and led to the death and injury of a number of the Security Belt Forces members.”
The Saudi Foreign Ministry affirmed the Kingdom’s “complete rejection of all terrorist acts targeting security services and stability in the region.” – Aden (South24)
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