By NY Staff
Southern Movement leaders meeting in Dubai with U.N. Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, have reached an agreement over their participation in the upcoming National Dialogue Conference, to begin on 18 March. The statement released confirmed their participation in the conference and went on to condemn illegal killings and assassination of southern activists, called for the release of political prisoners and demanded that government forces stop using violence against the peaceful southern movement. The leaders affirmed that the southern issue can only be solved through peaceful dialogue.
While in Dubai, Yemen’s former President, Ali Salim al-Beid, had some suggestions for the U.N. Security Council that he passed along during the recent negotiations. Al-Beid urged the council to issue a number of apologies to the people of south Yemen and to recognize the peaceful movement it has adopted.
In his letter to Benomar, delivered by Mohammed Ali Al-Saqaf and al-Khader al-Ja’ari, al-Beid called for creating a proper political atmosphere for the dialogue. The requests include having an international peace-keeping force in the south, replacing Yemeni military and security forces. He also called on the U.N. to demand the release of all southern prisoners, the dismissal of cases against journalists and political officials, the end of kidnappings and all other aggressive treatment. Only then, al-Beid said, can the Dialogue help the southern people.
Al-Beid reportedly withdrew from the meeting after handing over a list of demands. President Hadi has requested the U.N. Security Council to issue an arrest warrant for al-Beid before the start of the National Dialogue.
Currently in exile, al-Beid was Saleh’s Vice President and prior to that, President of South Yemen before unification. In a statement released on 15 February, the U.N. Security Council accused al-Beid of impeding the political transition in Yemen.
In January, U.S. ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, accused al-Beid of having ties to Iran and undermining the political transition for the purpose of achieving southern secession.