Yemen’s President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has sworn in a new government that was formed thanks to a power-sharing agreement brokered by Saudi Arabia last year.
The 24-member cabinet, announced last week, was sworn in during a ceremony Saturday in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, where Hadi lives.
The new government, headed by Prime Minister Maeen Abdul Malik, represents the northern and southern areas of Yemen with equal numbers of members from each region.
It includes five members of the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC) as part of an attempt to end a power struggle between Hadi loyalists and secessionists.
The government formation was part of the Saudi-backed Riyadh Accord, signed between the Yemeni government and the STC in November 2019 to seek an end to military clashes between forces on both sides.
President Hadi called on the new government to act as a team and prioritize addressing the impoverished country’s economic problems.
“You come from different blocs and geographic areas, but your main concern is first of all the country and its citizens,” Hadi told members of the government.
“We are in a new stage and we depend on you to act as one team,” he added, according to Yemen’s state news agency Saba.
Yemen has been mired in conflict since a Saudi-led coalition intervened there in March 2015 to restore the government removed from power in the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthi rebel movement in late 2014.
The STC, formed in 2017, is backed by the United Arab Emirates, while Hadi’s government is backed by Saudi Arabia. Both are part of a coalition led by Saudi Arabia.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the conflict in Yemen has so far claimed the lives of 233,000 people.
The conflict has also brought the impoverished Arab country to the brink of famine and devastated its health facilities.
Earlier this month, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) said Yemen is the country most at risk of a humanitarian catastrophe in 2021, marking the third year in a row that the war-torn nation has earned grim recognition. .
According to the UN, 80 percent of Yemen’s 30 million people need some kind of help or protection. Some 13.5 million Yemenis are currently facing acute food insecurity, including 16,500 people living in famine-like conditions, UN data shows.