By Maram Alabbasi
The National Dialogue could mark a turning point for Yemen. As parties and groups come together to decide the country’s political future, several import topics are guaranteed to be heavily debated at the conference, including the southern issue and the houthis. With only a day left until the beginning of the conference, National Yemen asked the public their views on the upcoming event.
Lawyer and spokesman for the General Forum of Revolutionary Forces
The National Dialogue is not simply a Yemeni affair, it is an international one. The committees have been preparing for months, and they have many rich political experiences to draw on. I must say, the dialogue, despite all the preparations, is not without its fault, regarding the southern issue in particular.
I don’t think we can allow the dialogue to fail, success must be accomplished. There are many questions to be asked. Will the decisions reached in the conference be implemented? If war does start, how will it be stopped? What mechanism will there be to deal with such conflicts? These are questions the conference must answer.
Head of the Media Committee for the Council of Revolutionary Youth
Frankly, the mechanisms used for the initial preparations for the dialogue are not appropriate at all, particularly as they relate to the youth. We are not reassured, let alone satisfied, about the results that will be produced by this dialogue. We the youth want a constitution, a just solution to the southern issue, and a brilliant future for Yemen, free from conflict.
General Manager of Kaizen for Human Development and member of Islah
The results of dialogue will be fruitful if all involved parties are committed to applying the decisions made that are agreed upon. Everyone involved must be aware that they are deciding the future of Yemen, the nation is relaying on them.
I support international efforts to support the dialogue; that effort is being led by UN Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar. There’s a serious risk of conflict in dialogue. Houthis and the GPC, which both use violence to achieve their aims, are involved, after all. We require foreign supervision.
The dialogue is a turning point and it no doubt represents the last resort – the last solution. Constructive and effective dialogue is the only safe path for the country because if the dialogue fails, war will be the consequence.
Youth Revolution activist
I think the dialogue, which is necessitated by the Gulf initiative, reproduces the same power and political system that the youth revolted against. I can assure you that the results of the decision of the dialogue have already been prepared by foreign sponsored and these decisions will be imposed on participants of the dialogue.
I believe that the initiative and the resolutions of the Security Council have not given Yemen a real choice in shaping its future.
While the National Dialogue is a crucial stage, it is a negative stage. The future promises more conflicts between the parties who participate in the conference.
For instance, the solution for the southern issue is not necessarily federalism or secession, but building a strong central state which will deliver the justice desired in both the north and south and do away with this corrupt regime. It must preserve national unity.
Foreign intervention is not for Yemen’s benefit, but for the benefit of those countries who wish to establish a regime which will maintain their interests, which aren’t necessarily in line with the will and wishes of the Yemeni people.
Some believe that a federal system is the right solution to eh southern issue, but it’s not a practical solution is there’s no real agreement. There are people in the dialogue who will put Yemen first, but there are also people who are there for themselves and their parties’ interests.
Activist and revolutionary who was repeatedly arrested and detained during the uprising
It is difficult to predict the final output of the National Dialogue, but initial indicators so far are not encouraging.
Dialogue decisions on all issues have been prepared and decided by foreign forces. What is the purpose of dividing the military and the ongoing conflicts in the south and Saada? The purpose is to send a message: that you either accept the dialogue or the country will be destroyed by war and conflict.
Out of fear, the community and revolutionaries accept it as the only way out. Some believe that decisions have already been decided by the international community. I don’t think that’s a stretch – the international community decided on this dialogue and has assumed responsibility for it and the transitional process.
First, we must decide if the state should exist, and then we can talk about the form it should take.
Secretary General of AlHaq party
The National Dialogue is an important stage in Yemen’s contemporary history. Yemen will either be or not. The political forces will carry a great historical responsibility. They, however, seem to complicating the process by turning it into an opportunity to blackmail and compete with each other. We should all move beyond what has happened in the past and put Yemen first. That way, we can find solutions to our problems.
Representative to the National Dialogue – Nasserist Party
As for people who say that the decision have already been made, we are not divine, so we cannot know what people feel, but we can determine how they act. If we suspect that decisions have made, we would not participate. It is apparent, however, that there is an agenda of the conference.
Participating in the dialogue does not mean that the revolution has ended; the dialogue was one of the demands of the youth revolution.
We are hopeful that the result will be Yemeni decisions without external interference. But we are also careful that these decisions would not clash with international forces.
Youth have a clear point regarding the National Dialogue. We are not against the dialogue on principle, we are against it because it lacks credibility. It will allow participants to rubber-stamp decisions already made. We want a unified army that can protect the state and carryout decision made and compulsory elections.
The National Dialogue is a superficial process to legitimize the decisions made for the country that have already been made by outsiders. I don’t think the dialogue will be effective. Decisions have been made before, there was no implementation or action.
We have submitted to foreign influences at the beginning of the revolution, then we gave up and settled for the Gulf initiative. Now, it’s not even strange for others to meddle in our national affairs, it’s expected.
Supporting the National Dialogue is supporting unequal dialogue, where some parties are fully armed. Because weapons will be banned from the conference itself, it has some measure of access, getting people to put their arms down.
In a country like Yemen, it is not unusual to find foreign intervention. I came to believe after listening to President Hadi’s statement that the decisions have been made. He spoke about Yemen and a federal system. Personally, I believe secession is better if the north takes serious steps to respect the southerners’ rights.
Revolutionary and a journalist who documented the revolution since its launch on 16 January 2011
One thing I have to say is that yesterdady’s friends and toda’s enemies have finally agreed to participate in the dialogue, despite what they’ve done to one another in the pass. Sponsors are committed to neutrality, this is a national issue.
If they manage to build a strong state, the National Dialogue will be a success.
Spokesman of the Revolutionary Council in Ibb
We can’t talk about the results of the National Dialogue without considering the input that went into organizing it, and by whom. The revolution started because of politics, interest groups, the those who monopolize power. We must achieve a Yemeni constitution; the youth wanted this, we sacrificed for it. As I speak, the youth have been effectively excluded from the conference, guarantying the failure of the conference.
Foreign intervention is forced on is, each party is effected by foreign influences.
Participants in the dialogue should forget about political ideologies and figure out the nation’s interests. This should be used to measure the quality of those chosen to participate.