CAIRO, Egypt -- At least 200 East German security and intelligence advisers left South Yemen after the Arab world's only Marxist state refused to help pay their salaries, Arab diplomatic sources said Friday.
'Two hundred East German experts from the former East German intelligence apparatus Stasi and their families have now left Aden,' the Cairo-based diplomatic sources said.
The sources said Berlin stopped paying the salaries of the advisers after the abolition of the East German Stasi security apparatus, and Aden was unwilling to pick up the bill.
The East Germans have been training South Yemeni security personnel for 20 years. The last of about 100 Cuban experts left Aden several months ago, after South Yemen began questioning Havana's communist policies and began talks for union with North Yemen.
It was still unclear if some 2,000 Soviet military and technical advisers had also left Aden, where Soviet warships have docked since a Marxist government took power shortly after independence from Britain in 1967.
The diplomats said South Yemen wanted to maintain 'good ties with Moscow, but also wanted to break with the past relationship.'
Plans to merge North and South Yemen would create the most populous nation on the Arab peninsula after three centuries of division. Parliaments in both states have said they will discuss a draft resolution for a merger later this month, and the resolution would later be put to a referendum.
Saudi Arabia, which in the past backed both North and South Yemen with economic aid, has privately expressed concern over the idea of a large secular state with free political parties operating on its border.
North Yemeni diplomats said they would oppose an Islamic state on Saudi lines in a new Yemen, even though Saudi Arabia -- an absolute monarchy which has banned political parties and imposes strict Sharia or Islamic law -- has encouraged Yemeni religious leaders to try and influence events in their country.
North Yemen is grouped with other secular states such as Iraq, Egypt and Jordan in the Arab Cooperation Council. The North Yemeni diplomats said they expected a new Yemen to remain within the ACC.