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When the end of World War I signaled the breakup of the Ottoman Empire, North Yemen became independent. South Yemen, a British protectorate since the 19th century, did not achieve independence until 1967. When South Yemen adopted Marxism in 1970, hundreds of Yemenis fled to the north, setting the stage for dissension that ended only with the unification of the two countries as the Republic of Yemen in 1990. A border dispute with Saudi Arabia was peacefully settled in 2000. However, internal strife in Yemen continued, due in large part to a stagnant economy, ultimately leading to a crisis of debt payments. Following loan rescheduling by the International Monetary Fund, by the end of 2002 Yemen's external debt was 47.9 percent of its GDP, down ...

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