Last updated: 15 September, 2013

Yemen extends reconcialiation talks

Yemen’s national reconciliation talks aimed at drawing up a new constitution that were due to end Wednesday are being extended by a day, the commission in charge of the dialogue announced.

The commission, which is chaired by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, called on the nine working groups in the dialogue to submit their recommendations “by September 19 at the latest.”

The delegates are then to hold a plenary session which is scheduled to last for up to a month to draw up a final document.

Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi said on Wednesday that the 565 participants have agreed on the principle of changing the Arab republic into a federal state.

But differences remain on the number of regions proposed by each party, he said.

Southern delegates are demanding a federal state consisting of north and south Yemen, while northerners are proposing more than two entities, according to sources close to the talks.

The dialogue, part of a UN-brokered power transfer deal, is aimed at also preparing for elections in February 2014.

The dialogue is part of a Gulf-brokered initiative which paved the way for a the ouster of president Ali Abdullah Saleh following a year of popular protests against his autocratic rule.