U.S. stands by Yemen, Kerry says

May 22, 2013 at 9:48 AM

WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- The U.S. government stands by Yemen as it works toward national reconciliation, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Kerry said Yemen has made important strides in transitioning toward a democratic government.

"Yemenis from all walks of life have come together to chart a new course for their country through their National Dialogue, setting an example for the region of meaningful change through negotiation, inclusion and reconciliation," he said in a statement.

Yemeni President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi in March opened a national dialogue with the aim of drafting a new constitution ahead of general elections in 2014.

Hadi took power after a political deal ended the tenure of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who survived an assassination attempt at the height of the so-called Arab Spring.

"We will continue to support the Yemeni people in their efforts to build a unified, stable, democratic and prosperous Yemen," Kerry said.

Human rights groups say Yemen still has a long way to go before it can erase a long history of abuse and conflict.

Kerry's comments came as Yemenis marked Unity Day, the anniversary of the 1990 unification of North and South Yemen.

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