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Yemen remains region''s "only" example of peaceful transition - Ben Omar

UNITED NATIONS, April 4 (KUNA) -- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Advisor on Yemen Jamal Ben Omar on Thursday said that despite the challenges ahead, Yemen remains the region's "only" example of peaceful transition thanks to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprehensive roadmap.
He told reporters after his quarterly oral briefing to the Security Council that a number of reforms have been announced but still not implemented, "nevertheless, Yemen continues to stand as the only example in the region of a peaceful negotiated transition that is based on a comprehensive roadmap and a genuine national dialogue." He said he gave the Council "generally positive news" regarding the political transition in Yemen, describing the opening of the National Dialogue Conference on March 18 as an "historic" moment for Yemen, where, the various groups that were engaged only a year ago in armed clashes, are now gathering under the same roof discussing a common future for their country.
He conceded that the time remaining until the general elections are held in February 2014 holds "serious challenges." Among the "serious" challenges he mentioned, was the unrest in the south which is now attracting large numbers to the streets, adding that the calls for the cessation have grown, after two decades of discrimination, repression and unaddressed legitimate grievances, and that the people in the south are wary and skeptical of promises of reform.
He said many Yemenis agree that the "resolution to the southern question holds the key to the success of Yemen's transition," adding that "some Hirak groups are absent from the Conference, others have joined cautiously, with the expectation that the Conference will address their interest with honesty and respect, including the demand by some, by some, for separation." "I am pleased to report that many of southern leaders have reaffirmed to me their rejection of violence and their commitment to dialogue," he said.
He strongly urged the Yemeni government to undertake "immediate" confidence-building measures in the south to address the long-standing grievances over illegitimate seizure of property and unjust dismissal from the military and civil service.
On the humanitarian situation, he expressed hope that the donor countries will follow Saudi Arabia's lead and fulfill the promises they made during the 'Friends of Yemen' meeting on March 7 in London. (end) sj.mt KUNA 042140 Apr 13NNNN