Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi today has set March 18 as the date to hold the country’s national dialogue in a move to implement the political transition initiative brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council and in laying the groundwork for national elections in February 2014.
Reports say President Hadi also called on all political parties to work strongly to make the conference a success, and to grab the historic opportunity to achieve justice, freedom and equality.
The decision reportedly was announced after a meeting between President Hadi and the committee who are organizing the dialogue.
The Dialogue was originally scheduled to be held in November 2012 but later moved to March 18 this year.
The United States of America has welcomed the announcment that the Yemeni National Dialogue will begin on March 18.
In her press statement in Washington DC today, US Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says thi is is a positive development, and the US government commends the leadership of President Hadi and the Preparatory Committee in working with all parties in Yemen to bring about this key element of Yemen’s political transition.
“The Dialogue’s launch will mark another significant step in implementing the political transition initiative brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council.” – Ms. Nuland
The US urges President Hadi and all Yemeni parties to move expeditiously toward an inclusive, transparent, and constructive Dialogue.
Ms. Nuland notes that full participation by all segments of Yemeni society including Southerners, Houthis, women, civil society organizations, youth, rural populations, and others is essential to address issues fundamental to Yemen’s future.
With many unresolved conflicts engulfing Yemen, the national dialogue conference slated for next year will be crucial for the democratic transition underway in the country.
Yemen is reportedly is dealing with serious security concerns, an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and many unresolved conflicts.
According to the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, the success or failure of the national dialogue is likely to make or break Yemen’s transition.
He noted that helping to ensure the success of the all-inclusive dialogue, initial preparations for which have begun, will be the UN’s top priority in Yemen in the coming months.
He said result of the conference will feed into the constitution-making process that is to conclude in late 2013, enabling general elections to take place in February 2014.
Transition Largely On Track
In his remarks to the Council, Mr. Benomar noted that the transition remains “largely on track,” with President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, who came to power in February’s election.
He highlighted that one of Yemen’s key challenges is to assert the authority of the State in an environment that is dominated by a multitude of armed non-State actors competing for power.
Mr. Benomar said the national dialogue conference could be an essential step towards this end.
To be successful, the national dialogue process must be designed and driven by the Yemenis themselves, the envoy stressed.
US Humanitarian Crisis
Earlier in 2012, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)reported that Yemen is in the midst of an “increasingly complex, full-fledged humanitarian crisis.
It is estimated that the recent political turmoil in Yemen last year, part of a wave of protests across the Middle East and North Africa calling for social, economic and democratic reforms, has led to more than 82 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
To address the humanitarian needs of the Yemenis, the World Food Programm set to scale up its assistance in response to the growing needs in Yemen.
WFP is preparing to feed 3.5 million vulnerable people in Yemen in 2012. This includes people who have been pushed into hunger in the wake of sharp hikes in food prices and displacement in the northern and the southern regions of the country.
In addition, with ten million Yemenis facing food insecurity, the United States of America has expressed commitment on providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to those in need in Yemen.
US Assistance to Yemen
In the face of this worsening situation, the United States is focused on providing lifesaving humanitarian assistance to those in need in Yemen.
The United States is addressing also the needs in a way that helps build resilience and stability.
In 2012, the United States is providing over 73 million in humanitarian assistance to those affected by the conflict, she reported.
The assistance that the US government is providing includes things like 37,000 metric tons of wheat and other food items where over $11 million for food vouchers will allow people to purchase food in local markets.
US Stands ready to support Yemen’s political transition
As Yemenis embark on a path of change for their country, the United States of America has underlined its commitment to support Yemen as it pursues political transition.
In his remarks in Democratic Intervention in the Friends of Yemen Ministerial at Washington DC, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns Deputy emphasizes once again the United States’ strong commitment to working with Yemeni President Hadi, the people of Yemen, and the international community, to facilitate the historic transition.
The US government also continues to support exploration of options for a trust fund to support the Government of Yemen’s capacity building efforts.
Mr. Burns announces that the United States is on track to more than double assistance to Yemen this fiscal year, providing over $346 million.
The US government also seeks to support the Yemeni people by delivering humanitarian aid and economic assistance, supporting good governance, and encouraging expanded political participation for all, especially women, youth, and Yemenis of all backgrounds.
The US government is partnering with the Yemeni Government, prvate sector, and civil society to promote long-term, sustainable development prospects, develop economic activity and reform, and strengthen both domestic and foreign direct investment opportunities in Yemen.
US government is supporting the creation of active programs to improve Yemeni job skills, to ensure that Yemen’s workforce is prepared to compete and succeed in today’s global economy and empower the people of Yemen to take their future into their own hands.
The uprising in Yemen is part of a wider pro-democracy movement across the region, dubbed the “Arab Spring,” that began at the start of this year and has already toppled long-standing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.