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Pravda Commentary Alleges “Imperialist” Subversion in South Yemen With PM-South Yemen, Bjt

January 24, 1986

MOSCOW (AP) _ Pravda today issued the first Soviet commentary on the conflict between rival Marxist factions in South Yemen, and claimed subversion by ″external reactionary imperialist forces″ was partly to blame.

In his report in the Communist Party daily, commentator Pavel Demchenko noted for the first time in official Soviet media that the clashes that have rocked the Moscow-aligned country since Jan. 13 are due to ″disagreements in the party and government leadership of the country.″

Earlier reports in the state-run media have mentioned an attempted coup attempt against President Ali Nasser Mohammed last week and the continued fighting, but had given no explanation for the unrest.

The Marxist rebels in South Yemen are reportedly led by a former president, Abdul-Fattah Ismail, a hardliner who returned to South Yemen last year after five years of voluntary exile in Moscow.

″These events cannot but cause feelings of deep regret, especially considering that they are taking place in a friendly nation led by the Yemen Socialist Party,″ Pravda said.

The newspaper said South Yemen, the only Soviet client state in the Arab world, had made good progress in overcoming social and economic problems since its independence from Britain, but said the conflicts are tied to continuing difficulties in development.

″And there are also subversive actions by external reactionary imperialist forces,″ the Pravda commentary claimed, without elaborating.

″All of this is reflected in the unfortunate events of the past days. The necessity has come about to evacuate from the country Soviet and other foreign specialists and representatives. This work is being carried out in Aden (the capital) and in adjoining areas where there is still unrest.″

Pravda said leaders of Syria, Libya, North Yemen and other nations have called for an end to the fighting and urged the warring factions to resolve differences through political means.

The commentary repeated calls issued this week by Soviet officials and visiting leaders from South Yemen in Moscow for a peaceful settlement without interference from outside forces.

South Yemen’s prime minister and foreign minister have been in Moscow for a week, conducting meetings with Soviet officials. They flew here from New Delhi, India, where they were visiting when the battles broke out.

A Soviet Foreign Ministry spokesman, Vladimir Morozov, termed the South Yemen problems ″regrettable″ at a news conference earlier this week, but declined to say what advice Soviet officials have given the Yemenis.

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