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Sanaa, Sep 7 : The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the imminent round of military conflict as tensions between local Yemeni rivals continued to escalate over the control of the country’s oil-rich province of Shabwa, a government official said.
Tensions escalated between forces loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) and other Yemeni military units over the control of the country’s strategic seaport of Balhaf, a liquefied natural gas plant on the Gulf of Aden, the official told Xinhua news agency on Monday.
“Military units linked to Islamist Yemeni political parties began preparations for raiding Balhaf seaport and expelling the STC’s elite Shabwani troops stationed inside the gas export facility,” he said.
Another Yemeni official confirmed to Xinhua that the Saudi-led coalition intervened through conducting a mediation in an attempt to cease the rising tension between their local allies in the war-ravaged Arab country.
“The mediation team began contacting with leaders of the two warring rivals and urged the military units to immediately lift the besiege imposed around the entrances of Balhaf,” said the official.
The official indicated that warplanes of the Saudi-led coalition hovered low over Shabwa airspace as the military units of the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party continued deployment in the oil-rich Yemeni province.
The strategic seaport of Balahi, Yemen’s largest industrial project, was established in 2006 for exporting gas and oil.
The escalating tension between the Yemeni rival factions indicated that the country’s recent power-sharing government may lead to disrupting the implementation of a Saudi-brokered deal signed in 2019, according to the local officials.
The recent military developments in southern Yemen might also threaten the UN efforts that aimed at achieving permanent de-escalation and pushing the various Yemeni warring factions into peace negotiations.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia persuaded the STC and the Yemeni government to hold reconciliation talks, which succeeded in reaching a deal to form a new technocratic cabinet and ending a deadly conflict in the country’s southern regions.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Houthi militia seized control of several northern provinces and forced the internationally recognised government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi out of the capital Sanaa.
The Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened in the Yemeni conflict in March 2015 to support Hadi’s government.
IANS / AGENCY