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Yemen schedules national dialogue

Feb. 8, 2013 at 9:40 AM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 8 (UPI) -- All members of Yemeni civil and political society are called on to take part in a dialogue to address key challenges, the U.S. State Department said.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland welcomed an announcement from Yemen that a national dialogue was to begin March 18.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi announced plans for a national dialogue last month. His country has struggled with national security and southern separatist campaigns in the face of a threat from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.

Nuland said all members of civil and political society are urged to take part in a dialogue that's transparent and constructive.

"Full participation by all segments of Yemeni society -- including (southern separatists, Houthi rebels), women, civil society organizations, youth, rural populations, and others -- is essential to address issues fundamental to Yemen's future," she said in a statement.

A national dialogue conference is expected to culminate in preparations for a draft constitution. General elections should take place in 2014.

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