The United States established diplomatic relations with North Yemen in 1946 and South Yemen in 1967. The North had previously been part of the Ottoman Empire, and the South had been ruled by the United Kingdom. The Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen) severed relations with the United States on June 7, 1967 in the wake of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Diplomatic relations were reestablished in July 1972 after a visit to Sana’a by U.S. Secretary of State William P. Rogers. The U.S. embassy in Aden closed when the People’s Republic of Southern Yemen severed diplomatic relations with the United States on October 24, 1969. In 1970, the People’s Republic of Southern Yemen changed its name to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. On April 30, 1990, the United States resumed diplomatic relations with the country. The Yemen Arab Republic and the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen unified under the Republic of Yemen in 1990. In 1994 civil war broke out in Yemen over North-South contentions and the country continues to struggle with issues over unification. After reunification Yemen elected Ali Abdullah Saleh, former president of the Yemen Arab Republic, to lead the country.

Demonstrations against former president Saleh in early 2011 led him to step down in November 2011 through a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-brokered initiative. Since then, Yemen has made gradual progress towards implementation of the political transition plan, including the December 2011 formation of a National Consensus Government, the February 2012 election of Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi as president for the two year transition period, and the March 2013 launch of a six-month National Dialogue – a broad gathering of 565 delegates from across the political spectrum, brought together for the most inclusive discussion of its kind in Yemen’s history.