Challenges, hope seen in Yemen

Dec. 5, 2012 at 11:33 AM

UNITED NATIONS, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- There's a long and arduous road ahead for Yemenis headed for national elections in 2014, though a top U.N. official said there were glimmers of hope.

Jamal Benomar, a U.N. special adviser on Yemen, briefed the U.N. Security Council on developments in the country. Citizens there have found the "gun as a tool to answer the legitimate aspirations has passed and a peaceful solution can emerge from the ashes of conflict," he said.

Political unrest in the Middle East forced longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in early 2012. An upcoming national dialogue conference, said Benomar, could be the "crucible for a new Yemen."

Amnesty International published a report this week that warned violence could return to southern Yemen, which was under the control of al-Qaida groups last year.

Benomar said Yemen was facing a number of challenges as it moved through its transition period, including military and government reforms. In the south, he said, a humanitarian crisis brought on by violence there put a significant number of people on the "edge of starvation."

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