A Positive Step in Yemen

  • 19 July 2010

The signing of the minutes for the implementation of the February 2009 agreement by Yemen’s ruling General People’s Congress party and the opposition bloc—or the “Common Forum”—for the formation of a committee for initiating and preparing a comprehensive national dialogue is seen as a positive step for Yemen which should be built upon in order to overcome the political crisis facing the country and to confront other crises that presently threaten Yemen’s security and stability. 

The importance of this step does not merely lie in the fact that it reflects a state of consensus and accord for a comprehensive national dialogue, but also because it follows a series of positive steps in the recent past, which show a strong political desire in Yemen for turning the page on the past and starting a new era of political action based on national cohesion and partnership. Perhaps what is important in this respect is the positive response by both the government and the opposition over the signing of the new agreement for ushering in a new era of comprehensive national dialogue. President Ali Abdullah Saleh said this development constituted a positive step towards a “political détente,” and again offered the proposal he had made on May 22 for the partnership of all political powers. He reiterated his call for the formation of a national government that would comprise all shades of Yemeni political spectrum and his readiness to convene parliamentary elections on time. For its part, the opposition parties welcomed this agreement and said that it bode well for the future.

Past experience clearly confirms that comprehensive national dialogue provides the ideal means for overcoming the several crises besetting Yemen. Firstly, dialogue is the only means for tackling any problem or differences in view among citizens of a nation. There are no disputes that cannot be resolved as all it needs is requisite political will for finding a solution within a broad national framework. Second, dialogue forms an important step for overcoming political crises in a country, which in turn would protect Yemen from becoming a victim of other crises. A strong national front is essential for rising above destructive secessionist tendencies which split nations, squander all achievements, and divert attention from essential issues. Third, comprehensive national dialogue would deny disruptive forces in the county to work against the interest of Yemen.

Recent positive developments witnessed in Yemen reflect a high level of political wisdom and awareness, which everyone should respond to positively, especially by those parties and forces that have not yet officially accepted the process of national dialogue. Clear mechanisms need to be devised to achieve the desired goals in overcoming the several crises facing the country, and to usher in a new era of stability for the people of Yemen who have suffered enormously due to the prolongation of these crises.