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Yemen: National dialogue subcommittee calls for longer transitional period - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi (C) addresses a national dialogue in Sana'a on March 30, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi (C) addresses a national dialogue in Sana’a on March 30, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—The ruling Yemeni General People’s Congress has announced its decision not to participate in negotiations in the National Dialogue Conference, citing their disagreement with the membership of a subcommittee of the Southern Issue Working Group known as the 8+8 Committee.

That subcommittee was formed two days ago to develop solutions to the Southern issue. It has 16 members, including two representatives of the ruling General People’s Congress. The remaining 14 members come from other political parties, including Al-Hirak, the most prominent Southern group.

Representatives of the General People’s Congress Party stated in a meeting held late on Wednesday that “the Congress refuses the diversion in the dialogue’s objectives, and also rejects dialogue between various components being replaced by binary negotiations between the North and the South.”

According to a statement on the party’s website, it believes what is taking place is dangerous and “contrary to the constitution and the laws, rules and procedures of the national dialogue and contrary to the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, and it is unacceptable.”

The National Dialogue Conference is set to wrap up at the end of September. The discussions began on March 18, with the participation of 565 people. The nine key areas of work at the conference are the Southern issue, the Sa’ada issue, transitional justice, state-building, good governance, military and security policy, the protection of vulnerable groups, rights and freedoms, and development.

The dialogue has seen progress on most of the nine issues, particularly those related to the state and its various factions.

Most importantly, delegates to the conference seem to be close to deciding on the form of the state, with the most likely options being either a federal state composed of several provinces or a federation with two provinces. The 8+8 Committee has ruled out a disengagement option or a simple centralized state.

In a related development coming out of a national dialogue session on Thursday, the Good Governance Group issued a four-point roadmap for a longer transitional period for the “new Yemen.”

According to the media center for the national dialogue, the roadmap submitted to the 8+8 Committee included “electing the current president as president of the republic for the transitional phase (five years), as this is in keeping with the period stipulated in the previous constitution.”

It also specified a five-year “implementation period for the dialogue’s outcomes, in addition to transforming the national dialogue into the constituent assembly for this period, headed by its president, Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.”

The committee also discussed the basic principles for the distribution of wealth and power within the federal state and the administrative concerns of such a state, including whether it would be better to begin with identifying the number of regions and federations or if it was better to primarily agree on the principles that will determine the number of regions and then distributing power between them and the central authority.

In other news, President Hadi welcomed the ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Yemen, Ali bin Mohammed Hamdan, on Thursday. According to the state news agency, Hadi asked the ambassador to deliver a letter to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, thanking him and the kingdom for the assistance they have offered Yemen, especially in the difficult period for the country.

The letter contained a description of the historical path to a political settlement in Yemen in accordance with the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanisms.

In a separate meeting with the ambassador of the United Kingdom to Yemen, Jane Marriott, President Hadi stressed the need to follow up on pledges made by the Friends of Yemen at the New York conference in September 2012. According to the state news agency, he also said: “Yemen is in need of urgent and exceptional help at this critical and difficult stage the country is passing through.”

On the security front, Seiyun, in Hadhramaut province, was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades fired by unknown assailants, though there were no reported casualties among the soldiers. Local sources say the army imposed a security cordon immediately after the attack while military personnel spread around the perimeter to search for the attackers.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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