SANA'A, Feb. 16 (Saba) - The US ambassador to Yemen said on Thursday said that the Houthi group and southern movement's boycott would not affect the early presidential election to be hold on 21 February.
In a press conference held in the US embassy in Sana'a, Gerald Feierstein pointed to regional and international commitment to succeed the presidential election.
"We are working with the national reconciliation government for achieving the election successfully and ensuring as much as possible of participation in the voting day," he said.
He expected security challenges during the election, saying it would be "the beginning, and not the end, of the transitional phase."
Feierstein hailed the political parties' fulfillment of the Gulf initiative and the related achieved steps, topped by the actions taken by the government to secure the elections.
"Despite the political achievements, we have not seen any progress in the economic field", the US ambassador said, stressing the importance of ending the Yemeni citizens' suffering due to deterioration of basic services.
He accentuated the need of conducting the "national dialogue" between the various political parties, scheduled to be taken place after the presidential election, adding that the dialogue would address all legitimate demands including the issues of Sa'ada and the South region as well as adopting the constitutional reforms.
He expressed his optimism about Houthi group's participating in the dialogue. "We want Houthis to take part in the national dialogue, and abandon violence and armed action."
Concerning the armed and security forces, Feierstein said it would be restructured after the presidential election. "I will not name any person, but I expect the involvement of all leaders".
He criticized the protests within the government institutions, in particular military units, affirming the legal actions against any government leaders accused of corruption must be taken. "The accused should have the opportunity to defend themselves", he underlined.
Regarding the President Ali Abdullah Saleh's political activity, Feierstein said the US does not have any reservation about the President's political activities after ending his current presidential term, via leading the General People Congress Party.
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