Yemen: Special Adviser praises work of UN-backed dialogue, urges final agreement

Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

3 September 2013 – With preparations under way for a new constitution and a general election in Yemen, a senior United Nations adviser is in the capital Sana’a working with all sides of a national dialogue conference to finalize how the Government should be structured and how to address the specific challenges linked to the South.

Special Adviser Jamal Benomar today congratulated Yemenis for conducting “the most genuine transparent and inclusive National Dialogue the Arab region has ever witnessed.”

Mr. Benomar, who along with his team of experts is advising the Conference, urged all sides to cooperate on a final outcome document. He met with President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and leaders of all political parties on Sunday.

Since arriving last week, Mr. Benomar also met Prime Minister Mohamed Salem Basendwa, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abou Bakr AlQirbi, in addition to a wide range of leaders of politicians and civil society organizations.

The latest round of UN-backed National Dialogue Conference includes 565 delegates representing a cross-section of Yemeni society. The ongoing conference will feed into a constitution-making process and pave the way for general elections in 2014. Preparations for the electoral process are under way, including steps to create a new biometric voter registry, with registration due to begin this month.

Among the major challenges before the Dialogue is the need to find a consensual settlement to the question linked to southern separatists.

Briefing the Security Council in June, Mr. Benomar said there had been a significant increase in the frequency and number of demonstrators in the South in recent months as a result of “pent-up resentment at more than two decades of unaddressed grievances and systematic marginalization.”

Mr. Benomar will brief the Security Council on his visit, including recent political developments, on 27 September.

Prior, he is scheduled to participate in a ministerial-level ‘Friends of Yemen’ meeting in New York on 25 September.

This will be the first meeting since the conference in London in March, attended by 39 organizations and countries to discuss the political, economic, security and humanitarian sectors in Yemen.

The country has been undergoing a democratic transition, with a Government of National Unity, which came to power in an election in February 2012 following protests that led to the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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