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Yemen’s former leaders must stay clear of politics

Current administration must be given a chance to promote national reconciliation

Gulf News

The decision by Yemen’s Southern Movement to participate in the upcoming National Dialogue Conference is significant and may pave the way for resolving the country’s political strife and strengthening the transitional government. It comes two days after the UN Security Council warned former South Yemeni leader Ali Salim Al Beidh of possible sanctions if he obstructed the transition process.

Two years since the first protests took place in Yemen, which eventually forced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 33 years in power, there are strong indications that the national unity government is being undermined by interference from the former president and his vice-president.

Yemen is facing a looming food crisis, lack of security due to the presence of Al Qaida-linked movements and widespread poverty. For Yemen to fully confront its problems, there needs to be a solid government led by President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi that can seek immediate solutions. Equally important is the need for the current transitional government to continue to promote national reconciliation, which would lead to a constitutional referendum and elections by February 2014, as per the transition agreement.