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Yemen: Southern Mobility Movement returns to National Dialogue Conference - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi speaks during the opening session of the second national dialogue conference in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a on June 8, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

Yemen’s President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi speaks during the opening session of the second national dialogue conference in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a on June 8, 2013. (AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—A new committee of 16 members was formed yesterday by the Yemen National Dialogue Conference, tasked with managing the North-South negotiations to determine the future of the country. The committee was named the “8+8 committee”, and it represents Yemen’s north and south.

The creation of the committee was one of the conditions demanded by the Southern Mobility Movement (SMM), also known as Al-Harak, which returned to the conference after ending its boycott and dropping its demand to move the conference to outside of Yemen.

A source from the SMM, speaking on a condition of anonymity, told Asharq Al-Awsat: “Forming the committee meets the minimum Southern demands in order to remain in the National Dialogue,” adding that the UN envoy had made great efforts to achieve these results.

The source added that the committee was formed following an agreement with President Abd Rabbu Mansur Hadi prompting Mobility factions, which had boycotted the dialogue, to return to the table.

The committee members are, for the southern side: Mohamed Ali Ahmed, Khalid Mamedhef, Radiyah Shamshir, Badr Basalmah, Lutfi Shatarah, Ali Ashal, Ahmed Obaid Bin Dagher, Abdel-Rahman Omar Al-Saqqaf, and for the Northern side: Ahmed Al-Kahlani, Mohamed Qahtan, Qaderi Ahmed Haydar, Mohamed Abu Lahoum, Mohamed Al-Junaid, Abdullah Nu’man. Two places remain vacant for the Northern side and will be filled at a later date, according the Yemen’s official news agency.

Meanwhile, a source at the Sana’a office of UN envoy Jamal Benomar told Asharq Al-Awsat that the agreement was reached for the Southern side to return to the dialogue following intensive efforts by the UN envoy during his recent visit to Yemen.

The southerners have insisted that a committee representing both the North and South of Yemen was formed, in order to negotiate the future of Yemen and establish a federal state. However, differences developed between both sides, leading to a boycott of the National Dialogue Conference for more than a month by southern representatives.

For his part, Yemeni International Cooperation Minister Mohamed Saadi yesterday said Yemen has established a fund of USD 1.2 billion to return tens of thousands of Southern Yemenis to the jobs they lost after the civil war in 1994, amid efforts to revive talks to end internal divisions. He said the fund, which was approved on Sunday, helped persuade the Southern side to return to the talks they boycotted in protest against the way the government dealt with their demands. Saadi said Qatar would contribute USD 350 million to the fund.

A source at the Qatari Foreign Ministry, however, refused to confirm a commitment to contribute USD 350 million, according to Reuters. A Western diplomat earlier said members of the SMM agreed to return to the talks after receiving assurances that their demands would be met. The diplomat added that Yemen would establish another fund to resolve the problem of properties which were confiscated after the war.