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When the better choice…is the better choice

By Fakhri al-Arashi

Last Friday, on November 9th, Cairo provided the setting for one of the most important Southern Movement-related meetings, with at least thirty-one top southern decision-makers present.

The meeting was kicked off in the presence of United Nations Envoy Jamal Benomar, who attended the meeting as part of an ongoing effort to push forward Yemen’s political process in accordance with the GCC transition initiative.

In a statement, Benomar said the southern issue represented a focal point for making the National Dialogue Conference truly comprehensive. The conference is set to begin this week in Sana’a on November 15, 2012. I would say that he is right; at the present time, the southern issue represents an essential part of Yemen’s political picture – and future.

Today’s political transition will create a new standard of life for the southern brothers tomorrow. Yemen’s new political phase must include the promotion of southerners to national leadership positions. As with Hadi and Basindowa, such southern leaders must hold full-fledged national positions.

With key leadership positions manned by southerners, such individuals will have a true stake in national politics, and hence would lose any justification to facilitate Al-Qaeda or its offshoots to serve their individual agendas. Dropping such associations in favor of internationally favorable approaches to Yemen’s national politics will, of course, have a positive – and not a divisive or destructive – effect on Yemen’s future.

True involvement by southern leaders in Yemen’s national politics will lead to a better standing for Yemen in a global context, which, in turn, will add meaning and value to such posts in a united Yemen.

Let us admit that we should all participate in the National Dialogue to save both the north and the south from the dangers that accompany divisions. With so much to gain, true dialogue can be more than just about averting disaster – for once it can be about uncovering the great potential which many of us know exists, but which we rarely have had a chance to experience firsthand in Yemen.