Countryaah.com, President Ali Abdullah Saleh appointed on January
14, Abd ar-Rahman Muhammad Ali Uthman as new Minister of
Supply and Transport after Muhammad Ahmad Afandi, who
resigned in December the year before. Afandi belongs to the
party Islah, which is a coalition of conservative tribal
chiefs and Islamic fundamentalists and is the smaller of the
two government parties. The new minister was taken from the
country's largest party, the People's Congress (GPC).
Prime Minister Abd al-Aziz Abd al-Ghani presented a new
five-year plan for the country's economic development until
July 2000 to Parliament. The plan aims at an annual increase
in gross domestic product of 7.2%. On March 20, the
International Monetary Fund granted Yemen a US $ 193 million
loan for the government's economic and financial reform
Relations with Saudi Arabia improved, and on July 27, the
two countries signed a security agreement on cooperation
against smuggling and other crime along the border. The
government decided on July 29 to withdraw troops from the
disputed border area to Oman.
On April 27, 1997, the People's General Congress won the
parliamentary elections when it got 187 out of 301 seats. It
was followed by the Islamist Islah with 53. After a lengthy
internal debate, the Socialist Party had decided to boycott
On May 15, new Prime Minister Faraj Said Ibn Ghanem
formed the government with 28 ministers - including 24 from
the General Congress. On the same day, the government
devised a structural adjustment program aimed at boosting
the economy, which continued to suffer from the effects of
the civil war and the reduced assistance of a number of
Western and Arab countries. The economic reforms -
especially the privatizations - raised loans from the World
Bank and the IMF.
Acc. In 1998, Amnesty International was one of the 5
countries in the world that still used the death penalty
against criminal minors. The other countries are: Iran,
Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States.
In May 1998, Abdel Karim al-Iriani was appointed prime
minister. A post he also had in 1980-83 in Northern Yemen.
Saudi attacks on a Yemeni barracks on Duwaima Island in the
Red Sea in July again worsened relations between the two
countries. In October, the International Court of Justice in
The Hague ruled in favor of Yemen on the issue of the Hanish
Islands, which Eritrea also claimed.
The September 1999 general election was won by Ali
Abdullah Saleh, who was re-elected with 96.3% of the vote.
The abduction of 28 tourists - predominantly British - in
December 1998 seriously questioned the methods used by some
clans to submit their claims to the central authorities. The
abductions had become almost everyday occurrences to secure
the government's attention and make it bow to local demands.
During the 1990s, about 200 tourists or executives of
British or North American companies were abducted for this
purpose. In February 2000, therefore, a new law was passed
imposing the death penalty for the abduction of foreigners.
A month later, a group of Poland's ambassador to Yemen
abducted. However, he was released 4 days later.
Seventeen North American Marines were killed in a suicide
attack on the US warship USS Cole in the Port of Aden in
October 2000. The Islamic fundamentalist, Osama bin Laden,
who is Saudi but of Yemeni descent was made responsible for
the attack. That same month, a bomb exploded in the British
embassy. Four Yemenites were arrested after declaring that
they carried out the attack in solidarity with the