Sana’a: Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has urged all parties to take part in the upcoming national dialogue, the state news agency Saba reported on Saturday, after separatist factions vowed to boycott the talks.
“We want the national dialogue to establish a new Yemen through the participation of all Yemenis inside and outside the country,” Hadi said in a statement commemorating the anniversary of the revolution against British occupation on October 14, 1963. He said the talks set to begin in mid-November will discuss “the country’s political system as well as the issue of the south, to which it will find a real, national and just solution.”
Another subject will be tensions in Saada — the stronghold of Zaidi rebels in the north, who have indicated they will take part in the dialogue. But the Southern Movement, an alliance of groups that want autonomy or even independence for the south of the country, said on October 3 that it will boycott the talks. They head called instead for a forum that takes place “under international supervision and aims at restoring the former [independent] southern state,” that lasted until 1990.
The dialogue was stipulated in the Gulf-brokered and UN-backed deal under which former president Ali Abdullah Saleh officially stepped down in February, following a year-long uprising against his rule. It is seen as a critical phase in Yemen’s transition process where all parties, including the opposition, youth and the northern rebels are expected to come together and agree on a new constitution and on presidential and parliamentary elections.
Hadi, himself a southerner, called on exiled Yemeni opposition figures, including leaders from the Southern Movement, to return home to participate in the transition process. Residents in the south complain of discrimination by the Sana’a government, citing an inequitable distribution of resources. After the 1990 union between North and South Yemen, the south broke away in 1994. The move sparked a short-lived civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops.