Saturday, January 25th was a red-letter day in Yemen—after 10 months of negotiations among more than 500 representatives from all parts of the country, Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference ended with triumphant ceremony.
While there still remains more work to be done in Yemen’s transition, the National Dialogue resolved a number of past difficulties: all committees accepted the idea that Yemen would adopt a federal system of government.
“The United States congratulates the people of Yemen on the conclusion of their National Dialogue. This marks a critical milestone in the implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and is the result of the dedication of the Yemeni people to seeing their democratic transition succeed. The debates, discussions and compromises throughout the National Dialogue process are evidence of the will of the Yemeni people to work together constructively for the future of their country,” said State Department Spokesperson Marie Harf.
The debates, discussions and compromises throughout the National Dialogue process are evidence of the will of the Yemeni people to work together constructively for the future of their country.”
Yemen is the second largest country in the Arabian Peninsula, comprised of a myriad tribes and clans. Since 1990, when North and South Yemen unified and became the Republic of Yemen, the country has experienced long periods of conflict and civil war, the last of which was the 2011 uprising, a part of the Arab Spring.
Thus, although on the face of it the protests were part of a successful effort to force the resignation of long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh, many of the underlying issues were a carry-over going back to the country’s beginnings. In that sense, the National Dialogue Conference, having brought to the table representatives of numerous, often fractious factions, is a success. But the discussion must not stop here. Until a constitution has been written, signed and ratified, and a government structure agreed upon and instituted, the job is not yet finished.
Thus, we encourage all Yemenis to seize the reigning spirit of compromise.
The United States remains committed to supporting President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, National Dialogue delegates, and the Yemeni people as they work to achieve meaningful democratic reform through the implementation of the Gulf Cooperation Council political transition initiative.