Yemen's President urges army to protect dialogue from enemies of state
SANAA - President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi Thursday urged Yemen's army and security forces brass to be vigilant in case enemies of the state try to undermine a national dialogue set to begin later this month.
The army and security forces must be "vigilant" and on the lookout "for the enemies of security, stability and unity in Yemen," ahead of the March 18 national dialogue, the official Saba news agency reported him as saying.
"All military and security apparatus must draft the necessary plans, exchange information, unite operations and monitor terrorist elements," Hadi said.
The much-anticipated national dialogue aims to set in motion a process to draft a new constitution and electoral law for parliamentary and presidential polls elections in 2014.
The talks were originally planned for mid-November but the conference was delayed after factions in the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy or secession for the formerly independent south, refused to join in.
Hadi was elected in February 2012 as part of a UN-backed Gulf-brokered exit deal that eased veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office after 33 years in power, and ended a year of protests against his regime.
The dialogue, which is stipulated in the Gulf initiative, "is a historic responsibility at a delicate moment during which Yemen is facing security, political and economic crises," Hadi said on Thursday.
He also warned of "severe measures" against anyone who tries to undermine the talks.
Meanwhile General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, a key figure who backed demands by demonstrators for the ouster of Saleh during the 2011 protests, urged military and civilian forces to rally around the dialogue and back Hadi's efforts.
Ahmar said this was necessary to secure Yemen's stability and set up "a modern, civilian and democratic state" in the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country.