Yemeni parties to revive country’s political life
The conflict in Yemen has weakened political life and inhibited politics as a peaceful building block of society. In an effort to take the initial steps to move conflict resolution from the frontline to the political sphere, Yemeni political party leaders came together for an interparty dialogue in Helsinki.
On 28-30 October, CMI – Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation and Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies hosted representatives from Yemeni political parties in Helsinki, Finland. The three-day meeting provided the political parties with a safe space to come together for dialogue on key issues that need to be addressed to reactivate political life in Yemen, and to identify potential next steps in the UN-led peace process.
Given its complex and multifaceted nature, sustainable peace in Yemen requires an inclusive and multitrack approach. Political parties are one of the main constituencies for restarting the peace process and ensuring a viable peace agreement. Based on an initial process of identifying challenges and opportunities and how to address them internally in an effort to strengthen their internal structures, the party leaders agreed on the need for dialogue among parties in Yemen and for reactivating political life.
“It is important to strengthen the role of political actors in peace and decision-making processes as an alternative to armed conflict,” said Marion Lalisse, Deputy Head of Mission of the EU delegation to Yemen. She emphasised the importance of women’s participation and leadership in political parties and in the peace process.
The interparty dialogue is a part of a bigger initiative aiming to support broader inclusion and participation in the peace process and the ensuing transitional period, in support of the official peace process. UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg took part in the workshop virtually and shared initial impressions from his recent consultations and stressed the urgency of ending hostilities and restarting the political process. He also listened attentively to the concerns raised by the participants and their suggestions for moving forward in the peace process.
The representatives of the political parties also visited the Finnish Parliament. They were hosted by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Antti Rinne, who spoke about the history of Finland and the formation of the country’s political sphere, the Finnish multi-party system and the decision-making role of parliament. The participants also found it particularly interesting to hear about the history of the Finnish Civil War and the country’s subsequent recovery.
The workshop laid the basis for further dialogue among political parties. There was agreement on the need to broaden representation and create a common vision for peace among the political parties.
The workshop was organised and facilitated by CMI and Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, an independent Yemeni think-tank focusing on Yemen and the surrounding region. The interparty dialogue is part of an EU-funded project that aims to support an inclusive peace process to reach a negotiated solution to the conflict in Yemen.
CMI’s work in Yemen is funded by the European Union.
Photos: Maria Santto / CMI