London will today [March 7] host the fifth ministerial meeting of the Friends of Yemen group. A delegation of 39 countries, regional and international donor organizations and representatives of the Yemeni private sector will take part in the meeting chaired jointly by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, a key Yemeni official has announced that the national dialogue is to take place on March 18 in six different Yemeni cities.
Yemeni Minister of Planning and International Cooperation Mohammed al-Saadi confirmed to Al-Khaleej that the London meeting reflects the deep interest in and the continuous support for the political transition process in Yemen. He noted that the meeting will address progress in the implementation of the Gulf Initiative and the related implementation mechanisms. Additionally, the meeting will tackle the fulfillment of pledges made by donor countries within the Mutual Accountability Framework during the fourth meeting of the Friends of Yemen last September in New York.
Saadi declared that the agenda of the fifth meeting includes four key topics pertaining to current preparations for the national-dialogue conference, the challenges it faces and the presidential elections scheduled for February 2014. Furthermore, the participants will assess — through an economic report presented by the Yemeni government — economic developments in Yemen and the progress made in regard to donations ratified during the Riyadh conference and allocations dedicated to development projects. The challenges facing the political process and the support needed from donors to face to the difficulties of the current political transition will also be addressed.
In other developments, six Yemeni cities — Sanaa, Aden, Taz, Hadhramaut, al-Hudaydah and Saada — were chosen to host the national-dialogue conference scheduled for March 18. According to sources in the dialogue committee, the conference will begin on time despite the obstacles it faces. Moreover, political parties will sign an agreement for media pacification in order to set a suitable environment for the dialogue.
A meeting for the leadership of the south is to be held next Saturday in a Gulf country, under the sponsorship of the United Nations, with the objective of unifying the stance of these leaders in regard to participating in the national dialogue.
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