The National

 The Southern Transitional Council has begun withdrawing from positions in Aden that it seized from the Yemen government, the Saudi-led Arab coalition said on Saturday.

The withdrawal paves the way for Saudi-brokered reconciliation talks between the two sides after days of clashes in the southern port city where the government has been based following seizure of the capital, Sanaa, by Houthi rebels in late 2014. Supported and trained by the coalition, government and STC forces have been jointly fighting the rebels who still control Sanaa and large areas in north and west Yemen.

A coalition statement on Saturday praised the transitional council for observing calls for a ceasefire from Saudi Arabia and the UAE and for "beginning today to withdraw its troops and combat elements to their previous positions before recent events, and hand over Yemeni government headquarters under the supervision of the coalition”.

The coalition also praised the government for its response to "the call for restraint during the crisis, to prioritise of the interests of the Yemeni people and preserve of the gains of the coalition supporting legitimacy in Yemen to restore the state and its institutions”.

The internationally recognised government of President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi had said it was willing to join reconciliation, talks but only after the STC ceded control of the positions its forces seized during the fighting in Aden earlier this month.

The clashes broke out after the STC accused the Al Islah party, a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, of being complicit in a Houthi missile attack that killed a prominent military commander and dozens of other officers at a military camp in Aden on August 1.

The STC is a grouping of southern political leaders who say they support President Hadi but also advocate for the restoration of the state of South Yemen that existed before the unification of the country in 1990.
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