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Yemeni national dialogue postponed amid secessionist demands

English.news.cn   2012-11-15 04:59:20            

SANAA, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- As part of a UN-backed power transfer deal, the Yemeni national dialogue conference scheduled to be launched in mid-November has now been delayed until December due to disagreements between the government and the secessionists, officials said on Wednesday.

"The launch date of the reconciliation dialogue conference has been moved from mid-November to December. However, no date has yet been officially set after negotiations with pro-secession southern leaders run into trouble," two officials of the sharing-panel preparatory committee of the dialogue conference told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

"During meetings with UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Bin Omar in the Egyptian capital of Cairo last week, the southern leaders insisted to have an official recognition of the right of the people in the south to self-determination of independence as a precondition for the dialogue," the officials said without elaborating further.

The negotiations led by Bin Omar are ongoing with the southern leaders here and abroad, said the officials.

The sharing-panel dialogue preparatory committee was formed on July 14 by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to prepare for launching the national dialogue conference in mid-November as an official date stated by the UN-backed power transfer deal.

The deal, which is brokered by the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, was signed in November last year by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents, under which Hadi replaced Saleh in February this year following a year-long deadly street protests.

The preparatory committee consists of 25 representatives from all Yemeni political forces, including the pro-separatism Southern Movement, northern Shi'ite rebels, the anti-government youth group and non-government organizations.

The interim national unity government has called the exiled leaders of Southern Movement to return to Yemen to take part in the post-Saleh reconciliation dialogue. But some separatist leaders place little faith and believe that security units will simply arrest them at the airport if they come back.

North and South Yemen unified peacefully in 1990, but the relationship deteriorated after the southern leaders lost a four- month civil war in 1994. Calls for separation in the country's southern regions were renewed in 2007 over complains of being economically and politically marginalized and discriminated in favor of northerners.

Hadi, the first president from the south since the unity in 1990, pledged that he will address all problems by launching the planned UN-sponsored national dialogue within the framework of the Yemeni constitutional institutions.

The dialogue's agenda includes resolving the dispute among the rival forces in post-Saleh era, addressing the southerners' complains of reconstructing the army, rewriting the constitution, forming a sharing-panel election committee and holding the presidential election at the end of Hadi's two-year transitional term in 2014.

Government officials said President Hadi has been exerting efforts to rally support from GCC leaders to press pro- independence southern leaders for participating into the planned national dialogue unconditionally and under the umbrella of the Yemeni unity.

Editor: yan
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