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Middle East

Yemen committee mulls federation options: report

A mourner sits during the funeral of assassinated Shi'ite leader Ahmad Sharafeddin in Sanaa January 27, 2014. Unknown assailants shot and killed Sharafeddin on January 21 while he was on his way to attend reconciliation talks in the Yemeni capital, officials at the talks said. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah (YEMEN - Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST RELIGION OBITUARY)

SANAA: Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has tasked a committee with exploring options to turn the Arab republic into a federation, as agreed in reconciliation talks, state media said.

The committee led by Hadi himself will look into dividing the country either into two or six regions, according to a presidential decree published late Monday by Saba state news agency.

A national dialogue that is part of a UN-backed deal that ended a year of Arab Spring-inspired protests wrapped up last week with an agreement to establish a federal system, hoping to answer southern demands for self autonomy.

The committee comprises representatives from across the country.

The format reached by the committee will be inserted in the text of a new constitution that should be drafted and voted on within a year, according to the decree.

The six-region option would lead to dividing the formerly independent south into two regions, while the remaining four would be in the north, it said.

Southerners have strongly opposed proposals for a federation of six units. Separatists have boycotted the dialogue all together.

Southern parts of Yemen formed an independent state from the end of British colonial rule in 1967 until union with the north in 1990.

A secession attempt four years later sparked a brief but bloody civil war that ended with northern forces taking over the south.

 

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