Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov toured Egypt and Jordan from April 5 to 7. Lavrov raised the issue of the war in Yemen and its reconciliation process, among other issues, with Egyptian colleagues. At a press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, Lavrov reiterated Russia’s support for the Stockholm agreement on Yemen.
“In general, the cease-fire is observed, although it has been broken several times,” Lavrov said. “The sides accuse each other of initiating violence. Moreover, the sides have failed to separate forces in the Hodeidah region. However, we expect the UN mission formed specifically for the resolution in Hodeidah, as well as the UN special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths, to continue their work. As with any other conflict, here the only way to achieve peace is for the Yemenis themselves to find an agreement. Any external party able to influence various local groups should encourage them to negotiate instead of provoking violence.”
Although Syria and Libya rank higher on the scale of Russian foreign policy priorities than the conflict in Yemen, Moscow has recently demonstrated its willingness to intensify work on the Yemeni track to help the parties in conflict find solutions to end the war. At the same time, given Russia’s long history of relations with Yemen, Moscow is also pursuing its own interests in the country. For this reason, Moscow both maintains existing contacts with the opposing parties and has worked toward establishing new ones.
Recently, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, the president of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC), and Said bin Breik, the head of the structure’s National Assembly, took a trip to Moscow upon the invitation of the Russian Foreign Ministry. The STC was created in Aden in May 2017 under the patronage of the United Arab Emirates. Its strategic objective is to recreate the independent nation of South Yemen within the 1990 borders of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. The STC relies on the so-called Southern Resistance militant groups, which were trained and equipped by the UAE.
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