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Abaad Studies and Research Centre, a Sana’a-based think-tank, organized a conference from May 12-13 in which senior Yemeni researchers participated with the aim of helping the government set strategic goals and make political decisions. Working papers were presented by a number of researchers, scholars, politicians and legislators from various academic institutions.
The role of youth, cultural priorities, economic challenges and the future of political parties, particularly the General Peoples Congress (GPC) and the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) alliance were debated. The conference shed light on requirements for the success of the national dialogue, transitional justice law and the drafting of a new constitution for the creation of a modern civil state. The conference, launched by the Information Minister Ali Al-Amrani, highlighted the reconstruction of the military and security services as well as their regional and international roles and impacts on national sovereignty. He said that the conference paved the way to holding an inclusive national dialogue outlined in the GCC-crafted deal and its implementing mechanisms, stressing that all Yemeni parties and factions will take part in the dialogue. Al-Amrani reiterated that the Yemeni people have suffered all forms of injustice, indicating that the southern issue is an example of the oppression practiced by the former regime. “Responsible and transparent discussion of all grievances and issues will enable us to end oppression, ensure justice and empower all people to gain their rights,” he added. “We realize that the situation will not be a bed of roses, but all challenges and difficulties can be overcome.” The Information Minister urged all civil society organizations to shoulder their responsibilities to reunite Yemenis and stand by President Abdu Rabo Mansour Hadi to carry out reforms. Abdul-Salam Mohammad, chairman of Abaad Studies and Research Center, said the conference is the first step in getting Yemeni researchers to participate in offering strategic vision to decision-makers. He further explained that the outcomes and recommendations of the conference will be offered to the government, youth and all engaged parties in the national dialogue conference. “The government should take researchers’ recommendations into account when drawing strategic policies of the state.” he added. He explained that the conference will contribute to determining Yemen’s challenges in the transition stage and suggesting priorities to face those challenges. During the opening of the conference, a working paper that was presented by researcher Abdul-Ghani Al-Mawri about the requirements of the national dialogue raised wide debate. Mohammad Azzan, a researcher from Sa’ada governorate, and a member of the Houthis’ military wing of the, Al-Shabab Al-Muamin (Believing Youth), said in a working paper that exclusion and repression is the most direct cause for the emergence of armed groups. Saudi Arabia suspended Yemeni spring In a working paper about regional and international interventions, chairman of Future Study Centre, Faris Al-Saqaf, said that when the revolution could not fulfill all its objectives and Yemen’s political forces could not reach agreement, external forces, particularly Saudi Arabia and the United States, interfered. He emphasized that Saudi Arabia had concerns about the effects the Arab Spring and the Yemeni revolution might have on its land and, in turn, took the opportunity to interfere and offer the GCC deal as a solution. He further said that the United States had fears about revolutionary forces that included Islamists, military commanders and leftists, pointing out that it allowed Saleh and his family to keep their influence with the aim of creating balance and conditions that harmonize the US interests. Southern Issue Researcher Hanan Mohammad Fara’a presented a paper about the southern cause in which she said that the Yemeni unification was not set up on the basis of real and equivalent partnership. She said that the unification was executed by a political decision for which the people did not vote. She pointed out that the southern side made concessions for the success of the unification agreement in 1990, adding that southerners conceded the presidency, currency and the capital to the north. Fara’a also said that the Sana’a regime sought to get rid of southern leaders pointing out that it carried out 156 successful and failed assassination attempts and no perpetrator was arrested or brought to justice