By Asma Al-Mohattwari
Even though the transfer of power from Saleh to Hadi represented a new chapter in Yemen’s history, Yemen still must overcome many challenges. The challenges are great: Yemen must form a new government consisting of an equal number of the GPC and JMP, the volatile military must be restructured, and Yemen’s economy is on life support. To help navigate these problems, the Gulf States put together the GCC Initiative to help Yemen. The cornerstone to this initiative’s success is the National Dialogue.
The national dialogue is one of the most important stages set out in the Gulf initiative after the election of a new president and new government is formed. National dialogue will reflect the views of all parties in Yemen. Chairman of Women section in the GPC Fatma Al-Khatri said “Parliament, the government, all political organizations, parties, and sects including Houthis, Islah and also the Southern Movement will participate in the national dialogue to build a new Yemen without any conflicts”.
All Yemeni should know that this dialogue is to be conducted for the general interest of Yemen. It is to be conducted to maintain peace, stability, development and prosperity in the country and to improve economic conditions and public services.
Many important issues will be discussed in the national dialogue including conducting the national dialogue conference, restructuring the army and security services, addressing the issue of carrying weapons without license and outside the military and security, and State control. “We are waiting for the national dialogue which will reflect the views of all parties of Yemen, which are working to achieve reconciliation and shaping the future of Yemen through the formation of the new constitutional committee and the drafting of the Constitution” Al-Khatri said.
Officials say that one of the elements that will be discussed in the dialogue is the enactment of laws and legislations on transitional justice to support the national reconciliation, constitutional reform, electoral procedure and elections in 2012.
According to Al-Khatri the importance of the national dialogue is not clear “it is only the educated segment of society that is interested in dialogue because there is no sufficient awareness of it because there is not media coverage” she added.
The establishment of the national dialogue faces so many arguments as there are many different attitudes towards it. An official within the GPC said that Joint meeting parties want to postpone the national dialogue until restructuring the army because they believe that the success of the national dialogue will only be through stabilizing the security situation.
Mohammed Ali Abulohom, Chairman of the Organization of Justice and Construction said that the issue of restructuring the army is a necessity and the success of the national dialogue will only be through the security and stability that will be provided by the armed forces.
Unlike JMP, the General people’s congress does not want to delay the national dialogue as they believe that restructuring the army needs at least two years to be completed, and that the national dialogue can never be delayed for such long time. National dialogue is necessary to overcome the difficulties and challenges that resulted from the crisis Yemen passed through in the last year. Yemen cannot be improved unless the national dialogue is held.
Many in the south feel that the National Dialogue will not be successful if it doesn’t include the southern movement as part of the national dialogue. Officials say that it cannot be forgotten and that it must be the first issue to be discussed in the national dialogue. However, certain figures in the southern movement refuse to join the national dialogue and demand separation. Another part of them said that they will participate just to demand federalism as a solution for their problem. “We have to get rid of the tribal system and replace it with a modern one and federalism is the only way which can change Yemen’s future” Khaled Aobali stated.
According to Abulohom People should be aware of the meaning of transitional justice because it is a basic and good principle to solve the current situation. He also demanded officials and concerned authorities to clarify this point to the public. “National Dialogue will only work if elements are based on credibility and deal with this phase with transparency, equality and justice for all and the acceptance of others without the guardianship or exclusion” he advised.
Preparatory Committee has not prepared yet because of the Opposing Views of the National Dialogue.
The questions to be asked when the Preparatory Committee will be prepared and when the National Dialogue will start? Yemen is waiting for answers.