Yemen’s government has agreed to create a federal system with six regions in order to integrate the southern separatist movements as part of the country’s national dialogue process.

Under the agreement, President Abdrabbu Mansour al-Hadi will guarantee 50 per cent representation for southern groups in senior government positions and security posts.

Since 2004, Yemen has been divided into 20 governorates. It will now be divided into six regions, with four in the north and two in the south, according to the state-owned Saba news agency.

Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference is a series of peace talks that began in March last year, aimed at the creation of a new constitution. It brought together more than 500 delegates from across the country, including southern separatists and Shia Houthi rebels. A committee has now been formed to determine the exact boundaries of the regions and to submit a final report to the constitution drafting committee.

Despite the agreement, the government is unlikely to re-establish control over the majority of Yemen’s territory over the next year, says Anna Boyd, senior Middle East analyst at the UK’s IHS.

“Militant separatist factions will probably capitalise on the diminished capability of security forces in southern provinces, coordinate their efforts with other insurgent factions to acquire weapons and expertise, and increasingly resort to attacks targeting infrastructure, energy and security forces to further erode the government’s authority over southern Yemeni territory,” she says.