ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Another Yemen in Aden?

How serious is Britain about Aden's future wellbeing? Is it enough for Brown, the Foreign Secretary, to ask the Aden nationalists to return from their exile—an exile which, it is necessary to say, is not wholly self imposed, as is frequently made out in the British press— and "play their part" in working the Federation? And what will be Britain's commitment to such a Federation, if it is found to be not viable? The Federation has a chance only if, at some future date, it is linked with Yemen, an independent State. But Yemen's own future has still to be worked out and the character of its government decided incontrovertibly

How serious is Britain about Aden's future wellbeing? Is it enough for Brown, the Foreign Secretary, to ask the Aden nationalists to return from their exile—an exile which, it is necessary to say, is not wholly self imposed, as is frequently made out in the British press— and "play their part" in working the Federation? And what will be Britain's commitment to such a Federation, if it is found to be not viable? The Federation has a chance only if, at some future date, it is linked with Yemen, an independent State. But Yemen's own future has still to be worked out and the character of its government decided incontrovertibly. The situation, in the circumstances, is fluid, to say the least. A three-man United Nations Mission is charged with assiensing how the world organisation can help to prepare for elections and the establishment of a caretaker government in the Federation. But Aden rationalists and Abdel Kawee Mackawee, Secretary-General of the Front for the Liberation of Occupied South Yemen (FLOSY), have refused to meet the mission.

Mackawee has been suggesting, with the approval of the United Arab Republic, that the best thing that Britain can do is to pull out of South Arabia. His opponents point out that Aden is anything but self reliant or viable—if British troops are withdrawn by 1068, the date set for independence, that Aden's economy will be poorer by about £ 1 2 million a year; that thousands of people who live around the British base will be unemployed; that hundreds of rented houses will fail vacant and shops will have to put their shutters up. Worse, the more than 6,500 ships that bunker every year in Aden may start going to Djibouti next door. And Britain may even decide to persuade BP to shift its refinery from Aden to some other, less troublesome, spot After all, the crude for the refineries has to come from Bahrain and Kuwait.

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