Yemeni gov’t designates Ataq city new interim capital


Yemen’s internationally-recognized government led by President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi has shifted the seat of power temporarily, to the city of Ataq in the country’s southern Shabwah province. 

“The government will temporarily run its work from Ataq [Shabwah’s provincial capital] until the liberation of Aden and Sanaa,” Yemen’s Minister of Transport, Saleh al- Gabwani, informed on Twitter.

For more than a month, the interim capital, Aden, has been under the control of the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed separatist forces, loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC).

Since then, the Yemeni government had moved to Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Hadi-led government has shifted the capital now second time. Earlier, in January 2015, the capital was shifted to southern port city of Aden, after Iran-backed Houthi rebels laid seize on the presidential palace in Sanaa, the original seat of power. 

In an unexpected turn of events, the UAE-backed forces, who till recently were part of Saudi-led alliance, have now forced the government to quit from Aden. 

The minister did not disclose further details, but said Ataq’s city airport, has been designated as an international terminal.

Tensions have escalated between the Yemeni government and the STC in recent times, after separatists wrested control of large portions of the southern city of Aden. 

Earlier in 2014, Houthi rebels overran much of the country, including the capital Sanaa.

The conflict escalated the following year when Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies launched a massive air campaign against Houthis.

*Writing by Mahmoud Barakat
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