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Yemen president sets March 18 for national dialogue

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi on Wednesday set March 18 as the date to hold a much-anticipated national dialogue to push forward the process of political transition, state media said.

Hadi described the conference, which is aimed at drafting an new constitution and an electoral law for elections in 2014, as a "strategic and historic opportunity... to achieve a civic and modern state," Saba state news agency said.

The interim president urged Yemeni political forces to "work strongly to make the conference a success, and to grab the historic opportunity to achieve justice, freedom and equality," Saba added.

It said the decision was announced following a meeting between the president and the committee tasked with preparing for the talks which were originally planned for mid-November.

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 the talks.

Hadi was elected last February as part of a Gulf-brokered exit deal that eased former president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office after 33 years in power, and ended a year of protests against his regime.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130206/yemen-president-sets-march-18-national-dialogue