• Short Summary

    The Yemen Arab Republic celebrated its twenty-first anniversary with a huge display of military might on September 27 outside the capital, Sana'a.

  • Description

    GV Troops marching past in parade with helicopters flying overhead. (2 SHOTS)

    SCU President Saleh taking salute.

    TV & GV Troops in parade. (2 SHOTS)

    TV & SV Troops trotting past in parade. (3 SHOTS)

    LV President and VIPs on podium.

    GV Armoured divisions including field guns. (3 SHOTS)

    SV Guided missiles and President with army chiefs taking salute. (2 SHOTS)

    TV & SV Tanks in parade. (3 SHOTS)

    Initials MAW/JRS

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The Yemen Arab Republic celebrated its twenty-first anniversary with a huge display of military might on September 27 outside the capital, Sana'a. Wave upon wave of military and armoured battalions marched and trundled across the dessert sand watched by military leaders, led by President Lieutenant-Colonel Ali Abdullah Saleh. The Yemen Arab Republic, known since 1967 as North Yemen, was born in September 1962 after an army coup that followed the death of the Imam Ahmad. Soon afterwards civil war broke out, sparked by reactionary royalist forces. In 1967 the republicans gained the upper hand, the President was deposed and a Republican Council took power. About the same time South Yemen, now known as the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen, gained independence and in 1971 North Yemen faced more conflict, this time with intermittent fighting between the two Yemens which erupted into open warfare the next year. Although North and South Yemen have now signed a draft constitution for a unified state, defence is still an important part of North Yemen's continued existence. While the country ranks as one of the world's 30 least developed nations, defence expenditure in 1980 was 331 million dollars. The line-up of military hardware on display for the anniversary celebrations was impressive. But because North Yemen is non-aligned, and because the country has accepted aid deals from the United States, Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union at different times, the origin of its armoury is mixed. North Yemen's main financial backing has come from Saudi Arabia, which has facilitated the imports of armaments first from the United States and later from the Soviet Union. According to western observers, President Salah, who enjoys wide domestic popularity, has struck a canny and delicate balance between his Eastern bloc and Western providers.

    Some 15-thousand farmworkers and their supporters from the moderate Christian Democratic Party marched through San Salvador on September 27 in support of retaining the country's land re-distribution programme. The march, which culminated in a rally at Liberty Party in the city centre, was organised by the Popular Democratic Union, an umbrella group representing some 200-thousand farmworkers. Although they invited all political parties to take part only members of the Christian Democrats joined in. The march came in time for the workers to voice their opposition to three draft articles relating to land re-distribution before they are debated in the Constituent Assembly. The demonstrators claim the vaguely worded articles could seriously set back El Salvador's current land re-distribution programme. Labour leader, politicians and legal advisers opposing the articles said the proposed laws could restrict farmers' co-operatives in their choice of crops and could allow big landowners to split their holdings among family members, reducing the size of plots to less than the minimum for re-distribution. Despite fears that the demonstration would be disrupted by extremist elements from the left or right it went ahead unimpeded and without incident.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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