Yemen agrees on political map, giving regions _ including the restive south _ semi-autonomy

The United Nations envoy to Yemen says that the country's political representatives have signed an agreement that draws a new political map for Yemen, giving its regions self-rule.

Jamal Benomar said the new agreement "paves the way for establishing a unified state, on the basis of federalism and democracy."

Benomar's statement Tuesday comes amid deep divisions among the country's political groups as leading parties disagreed on a proposal to divide the country into six regions instead of two.

The Socialist Party also said that it opposes the agreement for giving a small committee chaired by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi more power in deciding on a final map.

The agreement also comes as strong secessionist movement has widespread support in the country's volatile south.