almotamar.net - On Saturday, Saíad Al-Arifi, the Director of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) office in Sana'a, spoke positively about the Yemeni governmentís war-related apologies, which he termed ďunprecedented.Ē
This past week, the Yemeni government apologized to citizens in southern and eastern Yemen, as well as those in Saíada governorate, for the 1994 and Saíada Wars.
Also on Saturday, members of the NDC Presidency convened for a meeting chaired by NDC Presidency member, conference Vice President and Southern Movement representative Yaseen Makkawi.
The members of the Presidency decided to continue holding consultations with conference representatives of political components in connection with southern issues, the drafting of Yemenís new constitution and remaining tasks before the NDC's working groups and committees.
All present further agreed that all tasks before the NDC Consensus Committeeís members must be completed in a timely manner.
On Sunday, representatives from ten southern factions with members present at the NDC formed a Higher Coordination Council, which will be tasked with unifying all southern conference approaches.
Members aligned with southern factions - the Southern Movement (Herak) included - participated in the press conference, which resulted in two decisions. The first decision concerned the importance of unifying southern approaches at the NDC, while the second decision provided for the official formation of the Higher Coordination Council.
On Sunday, NDC Secretary General Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak met with European Union Development Cooperation Unit head Micha Ramakers. A number of issues connected with conference activities and working group outcomes were discussed. bin Mubarak pointed out that the working groupsí final reports had not been submitted because preparations for the conferenceís final plenary session were not yet underway.
Also discussed at the meeting was the recent conference absence of NDC members aligned with the Southern Movement. The NDC Secretary General spoke about the urgent need for the members to return, at one point noting that Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and members of the government were actively working to ensure their return. For his part, Ramakers expressed the EU's readiness to fully support Yemenís dialogue process and spoke about ways in which EU support could be provided during the NDCís present, delicate stage.
On Monday, more than 265 members of the National Dialogue Conference demanded that President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and the Yemeni government utilize all possible legal and diplomatic means to obtain the return of Yemeni fishermen who are being detained in Eritrean prisons.
In a signed letter to Hadi, the members called for the speedy release of the fishermen and for more than 1,000 seized fishing boats to be returned.
On Tuesday, NDC Vice President and Southern Movement representative Yassin Makkawi stated that Southern Movement participation at the NDC was prompted by intentions to make the conference a success.
Makkawi said that Southern Movement-aligned NDC members hadnít suspended their participation in the NDC, but rather that they were awaiting for conditions to be met at the conference. He added that these conditions amounted to requests made by all southern citizens.
On Wednesday, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi chaired a meeting of the National Dialogue Conference's Consensus Committee.
Several topics and issues were discussed during the meeting, including the structure and development of the Yemeni state in relation to NDC outcomes and findings, a key aspect of mandates for reform in the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism.
On Thursday, Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi received United Nations Special Advisor on Yemen Jamal Benomar, who is currently visiting Yemen to follow up on the countryís political transition process.
During the meeting, Hadi reviewed several key issues and topics concerned with progress in the NDC. Hadi stated that he is presently awaiting final reports from the NDCís nine working groups.
"All Yemenis should reach for successful results which satisfy citizen needs and the requirements of a bright future,'' said Hadi.
For his part, Benomar passed on greetings from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
ďThe entire international community supports the choice of Yemeni people to extricate their nation from crisis,'' said the UN Special Advisor.
In a meeting headed by Abdul-Kareem Al-Eryani, the NDC's Consensus Committee formed a subcommittee which will be tasked with following up with the Yemeni Government on the implementation of both the 31-point lists and resolutions produced by the NDC.
The committee called for the NDC's Presidency to develop an agenda for the remaining weeks of the NDC.
On Thursday, the NDC Secretariat General welcomed a package of measures concerned with the implementation of a list 31 demands which were composed by southern leadership figures.
NDC Secretary General Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak said the package came as part of efforts to move the conference forward, and represented an attempt both to build trust and achieve the NDCís aims.
On Thursday, NDC member Abdu Radman has reported that a subcommittee composed of six NDC members was formed and tasked with preparing executive measures which aim to put an end to suffering experienced by Yemeni fishermen who are being detained in Eritrean prisons.
NDC Working Group Activity
On Saturday, members of the Saíada Issue Working Groupís solutions committee reached consensus decisions on items concerned with NDC member participation in the national government during the transitional stage. Also discussed at length was the matter of support for citizens in conflict-affected areas in Saíada governorate.
National Issues and Transitional Justice
On Monday, Abdulbari Dughaish, the Chairman of the NDC's National Issues and Transitional Justice Working Group, said that the group's mini-committee was now discussing subcommittee resolutions with the aim of drafting them in as clear and concise a manner as possible in order to be discussed and then voted on.
On Thursday, members of the NDCís National Issues and Transitional Justice Working Group mini-committee submitted a letter to Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, calling on him to cut short any activities associated with a citizen reparation fund.
However, a number of members opposed the establishment of such a fund, on the ground that it did not fit within the scope of their tasks.
On Saturday, the NDCís State-Building Working Group transferred two members from the now-defunct group committee on standards of membership for the constitution-drafting committee to the constitution-drafting committee itself.
Earlier in Saturdayís meeting, the membership standards committee presented what it had so far achieved.
On Sunday, members of the NDCís State-Building Working Group received three proposals concerned with the formation of a constitution-drafting committee. The proposals were presented by the group committees tasked with addressing constitution-drafting guidelines and standards of membership for the constitution-drafting committee.
The first proposal stated that the constitution-drafting committee should be comprised of 51 members, all nominated by NDC representatives of political and societal segments and in accordance with representation quotas.
During the presentation of the three proposals, the State-Building group members made comments on the proposals. The comments were recorded by the drafting standards and conditions committee and will later be integrated with the original proposals. The modified proposals will be discussed and voted on by southern NDC members.
On Wednesday, members of the NDCís State-Building Working Group decided to hold a vote and attempt to reach a consensus on the standards and conditions which will determine eligibility for seats in the constitution-drafting committee. The vote is scheduled to take place.
The committee has so far submitted various proposals concerned with the nature the as-yet unformed constitution-drafting committee; one proposal has the committee including 51 members, while the second has it composed of 31 members.
Separately, the group committee tasked with drafting specifics related to administrative, governance and voting systems reported that it has so far completed two-thirds of its tasks.
On Sunday, members of the NDCís Good Governance Working Group sent a letter to President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi demanding that he order the government to undertake strict measures to put an end to continued targeted killings and bombings.
According to Good Governance Group Rapporteur Halima Jahaf, the groupís members approved the formation of a committee tasked with making additions to Ė and improving the wording of Ė the working groupís final report.
On Thursday, Ahmed Al-Sbahi, the Vice Chairman of NDCís Good Governance Working Group, said that the group was in a position to develop anti-corruption recommendations which would take into account past mistakes.
According to Al-Sbahi the new visions were based on the results of field visits to institutions during which NDC members from the group got acquainted with legislation connected with these institutions Ė with the results in mind, the new visions were drafted.
Al-Asbahi concluded that the NDC has so far made giant strides toward laying the groundwork for a new Yemeni state, before adding that he hoped the conferenceís final outcomes would meet with the aspirations of the Yemeni people.
Security and Military
On Saturday, members of the NDCís Army and Security Working Group discussed a group subcommittee report on illegal terminations.
First and foremost among the reportís constitutional proposals was an item stating that north and south Yemen should have equal representation in all armed and security forces on a fifty-fifty basis.
Also included in the report were calls for the implementation of 31 southern-related points, and the reinstatement, compensation, and te provision of all applicable rights to citizens who were wrongfully terminated from positions in Yemenís army and security forces following the War of 1994.
The report also called for similar actions to be taken in response to wrongful terminations which occurred in Yemenís north. Moreover, the report recommended that military and security institutionsí status, as existed before the War of 1994, be returned to.
The groupís members then agreed to postpone votes on resolutions until after their southern colleagues had returned.
On Sunday, members of the NDCís Army and Security Working Groupís army subcommittee completed and approved their final report. The report included proposals on how to develop the armed forces on national and professional bases. Also discussed were measures focused on restructuring the armed forces.
On Monday, members of the Military and Security Working Groupí army subcommittee presented their final report to the groupís full membership.
The report included 4 consensually-approved constitutional articles and 33 legislative items, as well as 6 constitutional items and 18 legislative items which failed to receive consensus approval.
The consensually-approved constitutional articles focused on the criminalization of participation in trade and the possession of heavy or medium-sized weapons and explosives on the part of any political faction, tribe or individual; paying more attention to scientific research at military institutions by way of an allocation of 1% of national revenues; and the criminalization of military recruitment of children below 18 years of age.
These items also included calls for the establishment of military police stations in military zones, and not in accordance with governorate boundaries, the implementation of the 31-point lists, a return to places of employment for those who were wrongfully terminated in both Yemenís north and south, and a reconsideration of the curricula of military colleges and training institutes.
On Tuesday, in a meeting led by Chairman Yahya Al-Shami, members of the NDC's Army and Security Working Group discussed their efforts to complete group reports.
The groupís members provided suggestions concerned with which items should be included in Yemenís new constitution, along with legislative items focused on the reconstruction of Yemenís armed forces.
At the same time, the groupís members have begun to focus on deleting instances of overlap in the general group report which was submitted at the conferenceís second plenary session.
Meanwhile, the groupís army committee report now includes 10 consensually-approved constitutional articles and 51 legislative items; also featured in the report are six constitutional items 18 legislative items which failed to meet with consensus approval.
Also at the meeting, the groupís members agreed to submit all notes and proposals from group committees on security, intelligence and wrongful terminations to a group technical mini-committee.
The mini-committee, which will be composed of members from the working group, will review and discuss the notes, before integrating portions of them in the groupís final report.
On Wednesday, led by Chairman Yahya Al-Shami, members of the NDC's Army and Military Working Group convened for a meeting.
During the meeting, members who had objected to certain constitutional items provided their reasons for doing so; in all, six constitutional and 18 legislative items failed to receive consensus approval from the groupís members.
Independence of Special Entities
On Sunday, members of the NDCís Independence of Special Entities Working Group discussed a report on acts of revenge and weapons, as well as subcommittee summaries, all of which will be reflected in the final draft of the groupís final report on recent conference activities.
The groupís members have so far completed a discussion of subcommittee reports on the civil service, media, endowments, water and the environment, and supervisory systems.
At the same time, members of the mini-committee tasked with drafting the working groupís final report continued to discuss different possible ways in which the final report can be formulated. The final report will be presented at the NDCís final plenary session.
On Monday, members of the NDCís Independence of Special Entities Working Group discussed legislative specifics connected with efforts to reform the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendums and the Party Affairs Authority.
The legislation which is being worked upon largely focuses on providing both government institutions with increased independence.
Furthermore, the group has addressed the responsibilities of a potential Human Rights Authority, while also placing a focus on how legislative specifics connected with the institution should be integrated in the working groupís resolutions.
Separately, the mini-committee tasked with drafting the working groupís final report has continued to make progress. The committee members have discussed and revised legislative and constitutional items concerned with the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendums, the National Womenís Authority, and the Party Affairs Authority.
The committee members plan to present the results of their efforts to the full group membership in the coming days.
On Wednesday, members of the Independence of Special Entities Working Group drafting committee discussed legislative and constitutional recommendations concerned with the Supreme National Authority on Motherhood and Children and weapons issues.
The recommendations focused on the authorityís aims, in addition to its general policies and ways in which its tasks would integrate with those of other institutions.
Also included in the recommendations were items concerned with the formation of an information and statistics database, studies concerned with mothers and children, family stability projects, and the criminalization of all forms of violence against women.
With regard to weapons issues, recommendations confirmed the need to implement weapon bans. The committee also proposed that community awareness efforts focused on the risk of weapons should be introduced.
Rights and Freedoms
On Sunday, Arwa Othman, the Chairwoman of the NDCís Rights and Freedoms Working Group, stated that the National Dialogue Conference represented a lifeline for all Yemenis to extricate themselves from crises which Yemen has been experiencing.
Othman called for all political components present at the NDC take responsibility for the conferenceís success.
She added that current conference delays could be traced back to the absence of certain segments which have failed to support Yemenís political transition and, furthermore, which havenít promoted a suitable climate for the construction of a modern Yemeni state.
On Tuesday, members of the NDC's Rights and Freedoms Working Group received on a lecture delivered by international expert Omar Hamadi, from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.
During the lecture, Hamadi spoke directly about the resolutions which will be presented in the working groupís final report. Hamadi also spoke about the right to self-determination and inherent decision Ėmaking principles.
The overall attendance rate for NDC members over the past week was 84%.