Yemeni victors call for unity

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The Independent Online
AS NORTH Yemeni forces consolidated their control of Aden yesterday, their leaders expressed a commitment to reconciliation with their former adversaries.

In New York, the chief northern delegate, Abdul Karim al-Eryani, delivered a letter to the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, setting out the plans of the government in Sanaa. 'There will be a general amnesty and there will be compensation for property lost regardless of the side people were on,' Mr Eryani said.

The Sanaa government urged what it called 'the rebels' to take advantage of a law passed on 23 May offering a general amnesty. The amnesty does not cover a blacklist of 16 top southern leaders, including Ali Salem al-Baidh, the former vice-president of unified Yemen.

In a victory speech, President Ali Abdullah Saleh called on Yemenis to 'put our nation back on track towards the goal of building a modern state'. For their part, southern Yemeni leaders pledged from exile to continue their fight against what they called northern 'occupiers'.

'Our cause did not and will not die,' the vice-president of the breakaway state, Abdel-Rahman al-Jifri, said in Djibouti after arriving on a boat from Aden. He later flew to Saudi Arabia.

In Aden itself, Islamic zealots among the ranks of the northern Amalqa brigade stopped cars loaded with looted liquor, shot at the bottles and sometimes set fire to the liquor.