Editor (Asia – Middle East & Central)
SANAA – As thousands of separatists protests in the southern cities, President Hadi has addressed the nation, raising concerns about Yemenis using violence to express their dissent. There are reports that police have shot and killed a protestor in the South where protestors are calling for two independent Northen and Southern states. The separatists say that leaders from the South have been excluded from the the forthcoming dialogue process and their region is being allowed to secede from the north. There are instead boycotting the talks. Protestors also refuse a dialogue that is being held in the North and although the talks are backed by the UN, are asking for international intervention to enable a northern-southern conference instead.
The protests come as Yemen prepares to enter a national conference (NDC), that will bring together 565 representatives of Yemen’s various political groups in order to draft a new constitution in time for the full democratic elections in 2014. There are accusations that the talks are imbalanced and marginalised groups that played a key role in the revolution in 2011. The talks are expected to last six months.
The dialogue follows a two-year transitional period after an 11 month uprising which removed Ali-Abdullah Saleh from office after a 33 year rule which saw his deputy, Mr.Hadi, take over. These talks were part of a negotiated deal which saw his succession but have already suffered a series of post-ponments.
South Yemen was united with the North in 1990. Ever since there have been complains that the region is neglected both economically and politically by the centralized government. The talks will decide if Yemen is able to transition itself to a more democratic regime.
Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons (U.S Defense Department)