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Yemeni government issues apology for civil war - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A parachutist sporting the colours of the Yemen national flag, lands during the opening ceremony of the Sanaa Summer Festival in Sanaa August 18, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

A parachutist sporting the colours of the Yemeni national flag lands during the opening ceremony of the Sana’a Summer Festival in Sana’a on August 18, 2013. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—The Yemeni government has agreed to apologize to the people of the Southern and Eastern governorates and the people of Sa’adah and nearby regions for the 1994 civil war.

The decision came at the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers on Wednesday, chaired by Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa.

The decision is part of the 20-point proposal ratified by the official planning committee of the National Dialogue Conference and the 11-point proposal ratified by the Dialogue Conference’s Southern Issue Team.

A statement issued by the Council of Ministers said that the apology fell within the framework of the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanisms, which stipulate that an official apology be made to the South by the parties that participated in the summer 1994 war.

Accordingly, the government will officially apologize to the people of the Southern governorates, Sa’adah, Harf Sufyan, and other affected areas.

The government confirmed that the apology follows recognition by the National Accord Government that achieving reconciliation is a fundamental condition for achieving social peace and providing the suitable climate for the success of the national dialogue.

It also confirmed that the apology was accompanied by an admission that the previous authorities were principally, but not exclusively, responsible for the 1994 war, and the wars on Sa’adah, as well as the consequences of those wars.

The government said: “In order to achieve the supreme national interest, the National Accord Government, on behalf of former authorities and all parties and political forces,that ignited the war in the summer of 1994 and the Sa’adah wars or participated in them, declares its apology to the victims of these wars, and all victims of past political conflicts, and considers the events, and the reasons that led to them, to be a historic moral mistake that should never be repeated.”

The Yemeni government also said it was taking steps aimed at achieving national reconciliation and transitional justice, and was seeking to pass laws to achieve these ends.

The government said: “The government, on the occasion of this apology, is convinced that results of the national dialogue will represent the most important guarantees to prevent a return to the terrible past, which is the subject of this apology, and that is through a new constitution guaranteeing principles and rules that pledge equal citizenship and respect, protection and preservation of human rights and liberties, and the distribution of authority and wealth, and the separation of all state authorities, and to shape the state and change the system of power into a new ruling system.”

The Council of Ministers called on all political and social parties, as well as religious, cultural and intellectual activists, to identify a collective identity for all Yemenis, and to support a comprehensive national reconciliation.