Calm seems to have returned to Aden, the big city in southern Yemen, where violent clashes erupted in recent days between theoretically allied forces. These deadly fights have indeed pitted Southern separatists and loyalist forces: two blocks that usually fight the Houthi rebellion together. In this context, the strong man of the United Arab Emirates Mohammed ben Zayed visited this Monday, August 12 in Saudi Arabia. The two countries are the main belligerents in the regional coalition that has been fighting in Yemen since 2015.
Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who is visiting Saudi Arabia, said Monday that dialogue is the " only way " to resolve disputes in Yemen.
" Dialogue is the only way to resolve disputes between Yemenis, " Mohammed bin Zayed said in a meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Mina, according to a statement. communiqué transmitted by the UAE official agency WAM. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi supported Riyadh's call for an emergency meeting between the warring parties in the south, stressing that it denoted " a shared concern about the stability of Yemen ". The belligerents must " seize this opportunity (...) to dialogue in order to find a consensus consistent with the interests of Yemen, " he added.
محمد بن زايد يغادر جدة وولي عهد السعودية في مقدمة مودعي سموه بعد زيارة أخوية الى المملكة العربية السعودية
Mohamed bin Zayed departs Jeddah after a visit to Saudi Arabia, and is seen off the airport by the Saudi Crown Prince pic.twitter.com/fmwmv6uUU2
Members of the war-torn coalition in Yemen, the United Arab Emirates relies on the separatist forces of the South. Saudi Arabia, for its part, strongly supports Yemeni President Abbed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. The fighting in recent days in Aden, therefore, opposed Yemeni forces fighting together the Houthi rebellion, but they also tested the unity of the coalition commanded by Saudi Arabia.
While the Saudi kingdom and the United Arab Emirates show a broad convergence of views in regional conflicts, they also have different approaches. Thus - unlike the UAE - Saudi Arabia does not want to hear about a new North-South division of Yemen.
The United Arab Emirates recently announced a partial military withdrawal from Yemen, and also sent appeasement signals to Iran as incidents escalated in the Strait of Ormouz.
These gestures show that the UAE is carefully cultivating its strategic autonomy vis-à-vis the big Saudi neighbor.
Separatists adopt a conciliatory tone
No fighting has been reported in the last 24 hours in the big city of Aden. Separatist leader Aidarous al-Zoubaidi said he was " ready " to " work responsibly " with Riyadh to " handle this crisis ". While renewing the " commitment " of the separatists to maintain the ceasefire announced on Saturday night, he said his side was ready to " attend the meeting requested by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and that in a spirit of total opening ".
In that televised speech, he claimed that the violence had been " provoked " by the government forces and that the separatist fighters then had " only two options : self-defense or the surrender and liquidation of our just cause ". The other side wanted to " implement a plan based on the assassination of our leaders, " he said.