x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

UN makes urgent call for Yemen dialogue

The UN-brokered power transition deal that eased Ali Abdullah Saleh out of the presidency a year ago after three decades in power calls for the national dialogue to produce a new constitution and electoral law.

NEW YORK // Yemen's political parties must initiate a national dialogue, the UN said, warning that its transition was under threat.

The UN-brokered power transition deal that eased Ali Abdullah Saleh out of the presidency a year ago after three decades in power calls for the national dialogue to produce a new constitution and electoral law.

"The transition is threatened by those who have still not understood that change must now occur," UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

He warned that opponents of the dialogue were "keen to impede this transition and to profit from instability".

"Many Yemenis expect the Security Council to keep a careful watch on the spoilers' actions and to hold them accountable," Mr Benomar.

The envoy urged the Yemeni government to "take confidence-building measures to address the grievances of the southerners" and thus provide an environment that could foster talks.

The national dialogue conference, originally scheduled to take place in mid-November, has been delayed after factions in the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy or outright secession for the formerly independent south, refused to join the talks.

After North and South Yemen unified in 1990, the south broke away in 1994. The move sparked a short-lived civil war that ended with the region being overrun by northern troops.

Mr Benomar met Southern Movement leaders in Cairo recently to prod them to participate in the national dialogue.