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France’s foreign minister to hold Yemen-focused talks in Abu Dhabi

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France’s foreign minister to hold Yemen-focused talks in Abu Dhabi

le drian uae
Photo: Mohamed Al Hammadi/Crown Prince Court

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian will meet with leaders of the UAE in Abu Dhabi today to discuss the ongoing civil war in Yemen.

On Friday, Yemen’s internationally recognised government struck a power-sharing agreement with southern separatists. Under the arrangement, the separatists have agreed to disband their militias in exchange for a number of ministries and the government’s return to the southern city of Aden.

The Saudi-backed government was motivated to make a deal after Iran-backed Houthi rebels—a common enemy of both the government and the separatists—took responsibility for last month’s attack on two major Saudi oil facilities.

The reconciliation of the southern separatists and the government is good news for not only Saudi Arabia and Saudi-UAE relations—the UAE is aligned with the southern separatists, who seek a return to the pre-1990 division of the country between north and south—but France as well. France sells weaponry to both countries and also provides logistical, intelligence and materiel support to the coalition of government and separatist forces that are fighting the Houthi rebels.

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Paris does not want to be associated with the losing side of the war. Human rights organisations have reported that both Saudi-backed and Houthi forces have violated human rights rules over the course of the fighting. A collapse of the anti-Houthi alliance that Paris backs could lead to the government having to answer for its actions.

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