Yemen concluded its National Dialogue Conference on Saturday.
The talks, brokered by the UN and Gulf Cooperation Council, began in March and brought together rival political, tribal, religious, and social groups to create a new political system in conflict-ridden Yemen.
On Tuesday, National Dialogue Conference delegates decided that President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi should remain in office until a new constitution is drafted and agreed upon, and general elections are held. Under the new agreement, the president will be required to reshuffle his cabinet and reconfigure the Shura Council so that the consultative upper house of parliament is more representative of northern and southern factions.
President Hadi told the delegates "The National Dialogue document is the beginning of the road to build a new Yemen."
Yemen has been in political transition since former President Ali Abdullah Saleh resigned in November 2011 following an Arab Spring pro-democracy movement in the country. A Government of National Unity was elected in February 2012, with Hadi elected to a two-year presidential term.
Yemen has been plagued by violence for years. A cease-fire agreement among warring factions was reached in early November. However, violence persists. Two National Dialogue Conference envoys from the rebel Houthi movement were killed during the talks.
U.S. Department of State deputy spokesperson Marie Harf issued a congratulations on Saturday following the conclusion to the National Dialogue Conference.
"The debates, discussions and compromises throughout the National Dialogue process are evidence of the will of the Yemeni people to work together constructively for the future of their country... While significant progress has been made, the work of Yemen’s democratic transition is not complete."
UN Special Envoy to Yemen Jamal Benoma praised the "unprecedented" dialogue in Yemen, acknowledging that although it "was no picnic," the delegates were able to create a "roadmap for a new Yemen."
"You have presented an opportunity to create a new social contract and to meet the aspirations of Yemeni women and men for a country governed by the rule of law, justice, human rights, equal citizenship, democracy and good governance."
[BBC] [State Department] [United Nations]