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A quick translation – from the declaration of the First Southern Conference in Cairo

November 26, 2011

Mareb Press has published the statement issued by the First Southern Conference which took place 20-22 November in Cairo, and reports that 600 southerners and southern exiles took part. Interestingly the agreed statement puts forward federalism as the “safe exit” solution for the southern question. Here’s the relevant section:

وأكد المؤتمر الجنوبي على الثوابت التالية:

حق شعب الجنوب في تحقيق مصيره كحق شرعي تكفلة كافة المواثيق الدولية وبنود القانون الدولي .

ورأى ان خيار صياغة الوحدة في دولة فيدرالية إتحادية بأقليمين جنوبي وشمالي على خط الدولتين الموقعتين على إعلان وحدة 22 مايو 1990 هو المخرج الآمن لحل القضية الجنوبية والمشروط بحق شعب الجنوب في تقرير مصيره بعد فترة أنتقالية لا تزيد عن خمس سنوات, وان عدم الأستجابة لهذا الحل يعطي الجنوبيين الحق في اللجوء الى كافة الخيارات.

And a rough translation:

The Southern Conference affirmed the following principles:

The right of the southern people to self-determination, as a legal right guaranteed by international covenants and provisions of international law.

[The conference] sees that the option of unity in the form of a unified federal state in two regions – north and south of the line of the two states who were signatories to the Declaration of Unity on 22 May 1990 – is the safe way out for resolving the southern question. This is conditional on the right of the southern people to self-determination within a period not exceeding 5 years, and a lack of response to this solution gives southerners the right to resort to all options.

I’m not sufficiently well acquainted with the different groups who make up the southern movement to assess the significance of this statement and how much of the southern movement would be represented by it (mostly exiles?), but I thought it was nevertheless interesting.

I hope to be more well-informed after reading April Alley’s recent Crisis Group report, Breaking Point? Yemen’s Southern Question. However it’s still on the to-read list.

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