Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi speaks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (unseen) during talks outside Moscow, on April 2, 2013
Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi speaks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (unseen) during talks outside Moscow, on April 2, 2013 © Natalia Kolesnikova - Pool/AFP/File
Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi  speaks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin (unseen) during talks outside Moscow, on April 2, 2013
AFP
Last updated: November 19, 2013

Yemen president could stay after February 2014, says UN envoy

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi could stay in power after his term ends in February 2014 due to delays in implementing a transition agreement, the UN envoy to Yemen said Tuesday.

Hadi was elected for a two-year interim period in February 2012, after his predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh signed a power transfer deal bowing to a year-long uprising against his 33-year rule.

"There is a campaign by certain parties aiming at causing trouble ... These argue that the president's legitimacy expires with the end of the transitional period in February 2014," UN special envoy Jamal Benomar told AFP, in reference to Saleh's supporters.

"But the power transfer agreement signed in November 2011 states that the transition period ends when all its milestones are completed," he added.

Last month, Hadi said national dialogue talks aimed at drawing up a new constitution and preparing for elections would be resolved within days.

The talks had been due to end on September 18, but they have been delayed by disagreements about the number of regions that will make up the future state.

Benomar confirmed one of the main obstacles to the dialogue is "the structure of the state (with) participants agreeing on the principle of a federal state but not on the number of provinces."

Once-independent southern Yemenis are demanding two entities in a federal state -- one in the north and one in the south -- while northerners want several regions.

After the former North and South Yemen united in 1990, the south broke away in 1994, triggering a brief civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops.

The talks are part of a transitional process stipulated by a UN-backed initiative, brokered by neighbouring Gulf countries.

Yemen is the only Arab Spring country where the president quit under a negotiated solution.

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