National dialogue has begun in Yemen aimed of paving the way for a new constitution and democratic elections slated in February 2014.
Reports say more than 500 representatives of Yemens’ various political groups are taking part in the discussions in Sanaa.
The dialogue is expected to last six months.
Yemen is reportedly holding the dialogue as part of a UN-brokered deal that ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office in 2011 after an uprising.
The talks was originally scheduled to start in mid-November. But due to boycott in some factions in the south of Yemen, the talk was delayed and resumes this week.
US hails the launchingof Yemen’s National Dialogue
In a press statement in Washington DC, US Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland says the US commends President Hadi, the national consensus government, and all Yemenis for today’s launch of Yemen’s National Dialogue.
She says the national conversation, based on the principles of inclusion, transparency, and reform, is a significant step in Yemen’s ongoing political transition, which will culminate in elections in February 2014.
“This is an opportunity for all segments of Yemeni society to participate positively and meaningfully in charting a new course for Yemen.” – Ms. Nuland
The US government urges all parties to engage constructively in this process and to put national interests above personal interests in order to take advantage of this historic opportunity to shape Yemen’s future.
“We, along with the international community, are deeply committed to supporting Yemen’s National Dialogue and subsequent stages of the transition.” – Ms. Nuland
US provides aid to Yemen to support the dialogue
Ms. Nuland announces that at the request of the Yemeni government, the US government will provide $10.5 million to aid the National Dialogue, particularly in civic outreach, training, and operational support.
She notes this is only a small portion of the total assistance we provide in support of ongoing efforts to realize a peaceful, prosperous, unified, and stable Yemen.
March 18, the Dialogue Begins
Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi 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.
US welcomes the announcement of dialogue
The United States of America has welcomed the announcement that the Yemeni National Dialogue will begin on March 18.
US said the dialogues is a positive development, and the US government commended 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 US urges President Hadi and all Yemeni parties to move expeditiously toward an inclusive, transparent, and constructive Dialogue.
Political crisis is evident
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.
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.
Yemen’s 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.
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 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.