Tuesday,17 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1136, 21 - 27 February 2013
Tuesday,17 October, 2017
Issue 1136, 21 - 27 February 2013

Ahram Weekly

Negotiate or else

Yemenis must dialogue or face international sanctions, writes Nasser Arrabyee in Sanaa

Al-Ahram Weekly

The Yemen conflicting parties have no other option but to sit together for dialogue after the UN Security Council warned spoilers of the possibility of sanctions. The national dialogue starts on 18 March, and is expected to hammer out with a new constitution according to which presidential elections will be held in February 2014.
To support Yemeni transitional President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, the UN Security Council issued a presidential statement last week warning politicians of the former regime and opposition and other influential persons of imposing sanctions on them if they undermine the dialogue.
The statement, however, mentioned by name only two possible spoilers — one from the north and the other from the south. The former president Ali Abdallah Saleh and former president of the south Ali Salem Al-Beidh who has been in exile for more than 17 years. Al-Beidh retracted on his agreement to honour the unity between south and north only three years after he and Saleh declared it in 1990.
Reactions on considering Saleh a possible spoiler were various, but on Al-Beidh there was only one reaction from almost every one including Al-Beidh himself. That reaction was to ask why Ali Salem was mentioned at all as while he was not a party to the transition deal, the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. He has been demanding separation of the south since he was exiled after the 1994 civil war when he failed to achieve separation for the south.
Al-Beidh is accused of receiving support from Iran to realise his plan for an independent south Yemen. Leaders of separation groups inside Yemen support Al-Beidh as the leader of the south.
“In fact, Iran is not supporting us, but we want it to support our southern issue, and we will be honoured to have their support,” said Tarek Al-Fadhli, one of the separation leaders who support Al-Beidh. Al-Fadhli, said that Al-Beidh is the legal president of the south and the statement of UNSC is “biased against the East (Russia, China and Iran) and serving the West.
As for reactions on mentioning Saleh as a possible spoiler, some observers say others should have been mentioned by names as well, not only implicitly. “The problem with the statement is that it did not mention General Ali Mohsen by name although he is now even more dangerous than Saleh. The only difference is that Mohsen pretends he is supporting the revolution and he is not,” said political activist Ali Al-Bukhaiti.
“He [General Mohsen] is actually working with tribal and religious forces to prevent any change or any progress,” he added. “These forces [tribal, religious and military] will definitely be in conflict with President Hadi, if Saleh is not there.”
Former president Saleh keeps saying he and his party were behind the transitional deal and they are adhering to it word by word and they are doing their best to bring the dialogue to success.
Although the UNSC statement did not refer to Saleh’s staying in or leaving Yemen or keeping on as head of his party the People’s General Congress (PGC). The UNSC considers Saleh’s staying in Yemen as something up to him only and his position as a head of the PGC is something up to the party itself. All that UNSC want from Saleh or any other influential person is not to spoil or undermine the transition deal and the coming dialogue.
However, Saleh and his party accused the ruling Islamist Islah Party of misinforming the UNSC with the purpose of getting more support to dismiss Saleh from his party and his country as a strong opponent who might inspire and guide new faces from his party to take power again in the coming elections.
“The Islamists do everything they can to dismiss me from my party and from my country, our telephones are monitored and even our sons are monitored, and even though we keep silent so that they get reassured we are not conspiring against them,” Saleh said in a meeting with his important aides of the political bureau of the PGC after the UNSC statement.
Saleh and his party feel they have a problem inside their party regardless of what their opponents say or do. The PGC is seen from outside as having two heads, two presidents. Saleh is the formal president, and Hadi, the president of the country, is still formally vice president of the PGC.
Saleh says he is ready to solve this problem but only by elections as a principle for the future generations and he is willing to recommend Hadi and not to stand for election any more. “If my being head of the PGC undermines the transition and dialogue, then our party should hold its eighth general congress and the current leadership should all resign and new leadership should be elected,” said Saleh in the meeting with his party.
And even more, Saleh formed a committee made up of his highest aides and their allies from other parties to submit an official request to President Hadi and the 10 ambassadors of countries who sponsor the transitional deal of the GCC. Saleh and his party want to know why the presidential statement of the UNSC expressed concerns that Saleh might undermine the transition deal when Saleh was the first to propose it and formulate it.
The secretary of Saleh, Ahmed Al-Sufi, said, “The UNSC statement disappointed the opponents of Saleh especially the Islamists by closing the file of Saleh leaving Yemen or leaving politics.” Al-Sufi was referring to the position of the UNSC regarding Saleh’s political activity and his desire to leave or to stay in Yemen, as both have nothing to do with the UNSC.
The statement of the UNSC says: “The Security Council expresses concern over reports of interference in the transition by individuals in Yemen representing the former regime, the former opposition and others who do not adhere to the guiding principles of the Implementation Mechanism Agreement for the transition process, including former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and former vice president Ali Salem Al-Beidh.”
The Security Council reiterates its readiness to consider further measures, including under Article 41 of the UN Charter, if actions aimed at undermining the Government of National Unity and the political transition continue. The Security Council expressed concern over reports of money and weapons being brought into Yemen from outside for the purpose of undermining the transition.

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