Atawani: Ruling party makes press fuss, unserious about reformSincerity of political Dialogue debated [Archives:2005/829/Front Page]

March 31 2005

By Mohammed bin Sallam
& Hassan al-Zaidi
Yemen Times Staff

The ruling party deliberately creates much press rumpus talking about an alleged dialogue for political reform, said Mr. Sultan al-Atawani, Secretary General of the Nasserite Public Unionist Party.

“They have succeeded, threw official and close newspapers in making up such press fuss which has overshadowed the dialogue itself,” added he.

In a press statement to the Yemen Times last Tuesday, al-Atawani said, “The ruling party has done nothing regarding true dialogue. Nevertheless, we hope that they would be earnest enough in their invitation for the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) to hold a responsible dialogue that would result in efficacious solutions to the country's problems. This is the basis for comprehensive political reform which will reinforce the national unity against all sorts of risks.

“Political reform is a necessity to lead the country out of the dark tunnel. It is known that political reform will never be realized unless dialogue includes the political system both in the government and opposition.”

He further pointed out, “We, in the opposition, support any dialogue aimed at finding out solutions and treating the many problems Yemen is suffering. Political dialogue is the actual relation that should be established between the authority and opposition.”

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, when heading the General Committee of the General People's Congress (JPC), Yemen's ruling party, last Friday approved formation of a dialogue committee with the opposition. The governmental side of the committee is to be led by Dr. Abdul-Karim al-Eryani, GPC's Secretary General, provided that it involves opposition parties and NGOs.

On the other hand, Dr. Ahmed al-Asbahi, GPC's Assistant Secretary General for Foreign Affairs said in a statement to the Yemen Times that democracy is based on dialogue which is meant to arrive at consensus over major national indisputable issues.

He confirmed that the dialogue invitation is not the result of the recent events in the country. However, they are “originated in GPC's culture and President's beliefs who declared GPC's acceptance to carry the burden of initiating dialogue anew with the opposition as dialgue is always needed in all cases.”

Concerning the dialogue agenda, al-Asbahi mentioned that the dialogue will cover a variety of different issues among them is woman's role in political and public lives.

“The theory of national work is based on dialogue. In past dialogues we reached codes of ethics, and recently the dialogue has taken a certain turn because of the events in the country instead of resorting to press battles.”

Ruling party's invitation came after official media launched unprecedented attack against the opposition parties accusing them of implanting mischief and engendering disunity among people as was apparent in demonstrations and riots that took place in the previous days.

The opposition, however, represented in the JMP, accused the ruling party of plundering the public property, imposing unbearable taxes on citizens, and misusing the public post to serve their own economic and suppressive policy as well as misleading the public opinion in order to terrorize the opposition and disseminate hatred and incitement against the opposition.