Yemen decrees national unity government
Sana'a - Yemen's vice president issued a decree on Wednesday approving the formation of a government of national unity as agreed under a Gulf-brokered deal to end months of bloody unrest.
The decree by Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi establishes a cabinet comprised of 34 ministerial positions equally divided between President Ali Abdullah Saleh's party and the opposition.
The new government, headed by prime minister Mohammed Basindawa, will carry out its duties for three months, after which elections will be held and Hadi will formally take over the presidency.
Its formation is in line with a Gulf Co-operation Council plan, which is backed by the United Nations, for Saleh to hand his powers over to his deputy in return for immunity from prosecution for him and his family.
Saleh's ministers for foreign affairs and defence, Abu Bakr al-Kurbi and Mohammad Nasser Ahmad Ali respectively, have retained their old posts, according to the decree published by state news agency Saba.
However, the interior ministry has been entrusted to a member of the opposition, Abdelqader Qahtani, while the human rights portfolio goes to Huria Mashhur, spokesperson of the National Council, an opposition umbrella group.
After months of stalling, Saleh finally signed the Gulf-brokered power transfer agreement in Riyadh on November 23.
The opposition warned on Saturday that it will not go ahead with forming a unity government until a military commission is formed and fighting stops in Taez where 31 people were killed in clashes between the army and dissident tribesmen.
State media reported later the same day that a ceasefire had come into effect after Hadi called for an end to the fighting which erupted on Thursday and for a pull-out of troops and militiamen.