Middle East

Yemen committee mulls federation options: report

A young yemeni poses with on his head a portrait of Ahmed Sharafeddin, a key figure of the Shiite Huthi rebels' delegation to Yemen's reconciliation talks who was assassinated by gunmen, during his funeral on January 27, 2014 in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa. (AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

SANAA: Yemen President Abed Rabbou Mansour Hadi has tasked a committee with exploring options to turn the 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 U.N.-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 divide the 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 Yemen formed an independent state from the end of British rule in 1967 until 1990.

A secession attempt four years later led to a war that ended with northern forces taking the south.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 29, 2014, on page 9.




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