Yemen to be divided into 6 federal states
CAIRO — Yemen is to be divided into six federal states, a committee chaired by President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi decided Monday.
Two states will be formed in the south, which until 1990 was the independent Marxist republic of South Yemen, state news agency Saba reported. The remaining four will be in the smaller but more populous and politically dominant north.
The decision comes three weeks after a national dialogue conference agreed that the Arabian republic should be transformed into a federation — but was unable to agree on whether it should be made up of two states or six.
Southern separatists, the Yemeni Socialist Party and northern Houthi Shiite rebels wanted two federal states corresponding to the former independent republics.
The main northern political forces, fearing southern secession, called for a six-state federation.
Yemen's capital, Sana'a, and the port city of Aden, the former southern capital, will have special status under the new system.
The National Dialogue Conference, which began work in March, was charged with agreeing a new constitutional settlement after the resignation of long-term president Ali Abdullah Saleh in early 2012.
The demands of the southern separatist movement, whose hardliners refused to participate in the conference and insist on outright independence, were the main sticking point throughout the talks.