Opposition doubts GPC’s intent in dialogue [Archives:2007/1061/Local News]

June 18 2007

SANA'A, June 20 ) The Yemeni opposition – represented in Parliament by the General People's Congress, Islah Party, the Yemeni Socialist Party, the Nasserite Unionist Party and the Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party – signed an agreement last Sunday with the ruling party specifying the issues and guarantees of dialogue between them.

The dialogue agreement is an attempt to reconcile the extreme point of views of the opposition and the state especially with the latest tension because of Sa'ada war.

However, this dialogue agreement does not seem to convince many prominent people in the opposition, as they “doubt the state intention”.

Yassin Sa'eed Noman, Yemeni Socialist Party secretary-general and head of the JMP's Supreme Coordinating Council, told media earlier, “Dialogue is a must; however, we must set the appropriate climate to ensure its success. We accepted it because the nation urgently needs it, partially due to dysfunctions at both political and economic levels. However, will the ruling party be serious about dialogue this time around?”

GPC Secretary-General Abdulqader Bajammal considers the rules for dialogue in line with successful conditions during the first stage and a great accomplishment in the midst of an important historical situation.

The beginning of the agreement mentions that continuing political dialogue aims to establish a future national agreement regarding societal reforms and organized procedures for working tools related to these topics in the dialogue between the partners regarding political work through national partnership.

Such dialogue is the desire of all parts, so it's important to base it on main concepts and principals that clarify and organize the important rules of implementing this dialogue practically and successfully.

The agreement includes four sections. The first involves the specifics of dialogue, agreeing to begin the first stage of dialogue based on the June 18, 2006 agreement of principals between the GPC and the Joint Meeting Parties and the European Union's recommendations in its report regarding supervising local and president elections.

The second point in this section is about constitutional reforms that look into developing parliamentary work and what such dialogue will create. The third point involves developing the local governance system and holding elections for the heads of local councils and administrative divisions, as well as organizing urban society.

The final point related to dialogue regards solving previous political quarrels and social issues hindering growth and development.

Section two of the agreement which is about the main rules and principals of the agreement, entitles any party to recommend a date and topic for discussion and hence must be scheduled in the agenda.

Regarding media constraints, the agreement pinpoints the important role of media and the positive and negative impacts it may have on the public. Thus, setting media constraints and mechanisms would help the success of the dialogue.

It further set regulations for issuing press releases and statements issued by the dialoguing parties. Additionally, each session will appoint an individual to report and provide information to the media, which will help consolidate outgoing statements and information.

The agreement's final section addresses the issue of forming a secretariat committee comprised of five members, one from each party, to help the dialoguing parties perform the technical tasks ahead.

Following a six-month halt, the opposition parties, represented in the JMP, and the ruling GPC party decided to establish dialogue at the latter's request.