News / Middle East

Yemeni President's Term Extended, Shi'ite Muslim Leader Killed

FILE - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi FILE - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
x
FILE - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
FILE - Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi
Reuters
Yemen's political factions extended the president's term by a year and approved a new federal system at the end of national reconciliation talks on Tuesday, a milestone in the troubled country's transition to democracy.

Highlighting the security challenges facing Yemen, which borders major oil exporter Saudi Arabia and is home to one of al-Qaida's most active branches, unknown assailants shot dead a leader of the Yemeni Shi'ite Muslim Houthi group while he was driving to attend the final session of the talks.

Yemen has been torn by rising violence and lawlessness as the U.S.-allied country struggles to overcome political turmoil after long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down following months of mass protests against his rule in 2011.

The nation's political factions gave interim President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, whose two-year term had originally been due to end with elections in February 2014, an extra year after delays in the transition to democracy.

He will oversee a shift to a federal system intended to accommodate southern separatist demands for more autonomy. Southern separatists have been demanding to revive the state that merged with North Yemen in 1990.

The national reconciliation talks, launched in March 2013 as part of a Gulf-brokered power transfer deal, have been plagued by walk-outs by politicians.

Hadi, who will head a special committee, was also tasked with the drafting of a new constitution within three months.

He was also mandated to reshuffle the cabinet and restructure the Shura Council, the consultative upper house of parliament, to give more representation to the south and to Shi'ite Muslim rebels in the north.

Mindful of the challenges, Hadi told delegates: “I did not take over a nation, I took over a capital where gun shots are continuous day and night, where roadblocks fill the streets. I took over an empty bank that has no wages and a divided security apparatus and army.”

“The national dialog document [final communique] is the beginning of the road to build a new Yemen,” he said at the Movenpick Hotel on a hilltop on the outskirts of Sanaa where the sessions have been taking place.

Yemeni analyst Hatem Bamehrez said Hadi's task was huge.

“If the dialog took 10 months to complete, then implementation needs enough time and one year is not enough,” Bamehrez said, adding that shifting the major issues for Hadi to deal with later represented “a big danger” to the process.

Security

Marring Tuesday's talks, Ahmad Sharafeddin, a Houthi delegate at the reconciliation talks who had served as dean of the law faculty at Sanaa University, was killed when gunmen in a speeding vehicle sprayed his car with bullets in central Sanaa, officials said.

They said he died instantly and the gunmen escaped.

It was not immediately clear who was behind the assassination, but another Houthi leader, Abdulkarim al-Khiwani, accused hardline Sunni Muslim militants of carrying out the attack.

The Houthi group fought radical Sunni Salafis in northern Yemen from October until earlier this month, when a ceasefire was reached to relocate the Salafis to another city some 250 km (155 miles) away. But clashes have continued in other parts of northern Yemen with tribesmen allied to the Salafis.

More than 210 people have been killed in the fighting that  erupted in late October after the Houthis accused the Salafis of recruiting foreign militants in preparation to attack them.

The Salafis, who follow an austere brand of Sunni Islam, say the foreigners are students of Islamic theology.

Tuesday's attack was the latest in a string of killings against high-profile Yemenis and foreigners. Last week an Iranian diplomat was killed in Sanaa when he resisted gunmen who were trying to kidnap him.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid