Yemeni president calls national dialogue

President Ali Abdullah Salih of Yemen has now set a date for the start of a "national dialogue" on "all the issues that concern the homeland". It is to begin on December 26 and will be held under the auspices of the Shura Council – the presidentailly-appointed upper house of parliament.

In a speech at the end of Ramadan, Salih said:

"We renew the call to all political forces in the government and opposition with whom we share the responsibility of building and developing our country to discuss all our national issue and concerns through an open dialogue. A dialogue that is away and free from violence or imposing conditions. We need to reach common grounds to achieve the goals of the dialogue." 

According to the ruling party's website and the official Saba news agency, those invited to take part are:

  • Members of the Shoura Council

  • Political parties registered with the Party Affairs Committee

  • 22 scholars from the Yemen Scholars' Association

  • Heads of parliamentary blocs 

  • Chairpersons of "successful" civil society organisations

  • 22 sheikhs and social dignitaries

  • Secretaries-general of local councils across the republic 

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 15 December 2009.