Yemeni factions set to re-seal marriage vows in Jordan

THE leaders of the two main rival factions in Yemen are due in the Jordanian capital, Amman, tomorrow to sign an 18-point reconcilition document which few expect will ever be properly implemented.

The document is in essence a reassertion of marriage vows. When the two Yemens - north and south - sealed the knot four years ago, the move was widely welcomed in the Arab world. For in a region littered with past treaties of union, carried along by puffs of empty rhetoric about Arab unity, here were words translated into action. Only the Saudis, always dismissive of their southern neighbour, were less than enthusiastic about the creation of a larger, single state on their borders, especially one which had not supported the Saudi-led Arab coalition against Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

King Hussein is an eager host to this planned meeting. Always one who sees himself as a mediator in inter-Arab disputes, the Hashemite monarch also shares with the Vice- President of Yemen, Ali Salem al- Baidh, the claim to be descended from the Prophet Mohamed. Yemen and Jordan adopted similar stances during the Gulf crisis, for which King Hussein is still vilified by the Saudis and the Kuwaitis.

Yemen's act of union was not its only unusual act. Last year the country successfully held parliamentary elections that were among the freest held in the Arab world. But the divisions between north and south, between different power structures, have never been properly overcome. The differences are part ideological, part cultural, part tribal. It was never going to be easy to marry the traditionalist northern part of the country with the south which, after the British withdrawal from Aden and the protectorate around it in 1967, became the nearest thing to a Stalinist state in the Arab world.

The differences finally erupted in July, plunging the country into a political crisis. Mr Baidh skulked off to his headquarters and power base in Aden, demanding political and economic reforms, while President Ali Abdullah Saleh in effect ruled from Sanaa in the north through his General People's Congress.

In the lead up to the planned meeting in Amman, accusations have been traded between the two camps. Mr Baidh's Yemen Socialist Party has said that forces loyal to President Saleh's men had been plotting to shoot down Mr Baidh's plane on its way to Amman. A new row has erupted over the appointment of a government of Abyan province in southern Yemen.

On Wednesday, President Saleh's party accused the southerners of preparing for a 'bloody confrontation' by cutting water and power supplies to a police camp in Aden. Both sides accused the other of sending troops to the former border between north and south.

Each side is being asked to make concessions. President Saleh is being asked to loosen his control over the security services and the treasury. Mr Baidh is required to renounce his control over the rich oil fields in the south, which enable him to run the south as his personal fiefdom. A further complication is that the third party in the coalition government, the Islamist Islah party, has refused to support the reconciliation meeting.

The North-South union is an uneasy match, yet both sides remain committed at this stage to maintaining the union, even if they find it difficult to live together.

Suggested Topics
News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleThe idea has been greeted enthusiastically by the party's MPs
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game