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U.S. sees tough road ahead for Yemen

March 8, 2013 at 11:04 AM

LONDON, March 8 (UPI) -- While national dialogue in Yemen isn't going to be easy, the potential consequence of more bloodshed is far worse, a U.S. diplomat said.

A "Friends of Yemen" meeting was convened in London this week to build international support for reforms in Yemen.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi called for an inclusive national dialogue that would help chart the road to a new constitution and national elections next year.

Yemen is trying to move past conflicts during the previous administration of long-time President Ali Abdullah Saleh, separatists and the presence of al-Qaida.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said at the conference that dialogue is expected to be a complex and difficult undertaking.

"Dialogue is hard -- it requires difficult and painful compromises. It requires us to sit down with enemies and to argue with friends," he said in a statement. "But the alternative of more bloodshed and destruction is far worse."

The United States, Burns said, has provided more than $350 million in foreign assistance to help Yemen meet its political aspirations.

"To succeed, all of us in the international community must also do some hard work, day in and day out, to support these efforts," he said.

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