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January 2015



Huthi Rebels surrounded the Presidential Palace in the capital, Sanaa, and forced President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi to step down. In May 1990, the Republic of Yemen was established with the merger of North Yemen (capital: Sanaa) and South Yemen (capital: Aden). North Yemen gained independence from the Ottoman Empire (1918); South Yemen gained independence from the United Kingdom (1967).

By 1970, the government of South Yemen adopted a Marxist orientation. Four years after the unification of the two Yemeni states, a separatist movement had to be subdued in the South. In 2000, Yemen and Saudi Arabia agreed to a delimitation of their border. Fighting broke out with a Shia minority group in the North, the Huthis. The last cease-fire was negotiated in 2010. The southern secessionist movement revived in 2008. The UN Security Council stepped in to broker an agreement in October 2011. In February 2012, elections resulted in a formal transfer of power. Key constitutional, political, and social issues were finally being discussed by 2013.

Yemen is located in the Middle East, bordering the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, between Oman and Saudi Arabia. The terrain of Yemen is characterized by a narrow coastal plain backed by flat-topped hills and rugged mountains. An upland desert plain in the center slopes into the desert interior of the Arabian Peninsula. The natural resources of the country include: petroleum, fish, rock salt, marble, coal, gold, lead, nickel, and copper.

CIA World Factbook, 2014/06

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