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Helsinki, Finland: From October 29-31, representatives of Yemen’s political parties discussed their country’s way forward with the UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Hans Grundberg, at an inter-party dialogue workshop, held here in the Finnish capital and via video link.

The discussion included a range of views on what has worked and what has not worked in previous official peace efforts, while also asking what role the political parties could play in both the peace process and in sustaining future peace.

EU Charge d’Affaires to Yemen Marion Lalisse opened the inter-party dialogue workshop via video link. She stressed the importance of strengthening the role of political actors in the peace and decision-making processes as an alternative to armed conflict.

Representatives of the main political parties in Yemen – the General People’s Congress (GPC), the Islah party, the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), Al Rashad Party and the Nasserist Party – all participated in the workshop.

The participants discussed how to activate the political life of the parties and the challenges they face. They also discussed the minimum requirements for the political climate in any transitional period and what guarantees are necessary for the restoration of political life in Yemen.

They also discussed the general principles that can frame political life and action and that are related to democratic processes, violence in society, elections, ideology in politics, armed groups, and other factors.

The Yemeni political party representatives also visited the Finnish Parliament and met with First Deputy Speaker and former Prime Minister Antti Rinne.

By the end of the workshop, the Yemeni political party representatives had developed a series of recommendations on the peace process for the UN Special Envoy, the EU and the broader international community.

Commenting on the meetings, the Executive Director of the Sana’a Center, Maged Al-Madhaji, said that they had opened up a discussion on the challenges of inter-party relations in a dynamic and different way. He added that they had also addressed the problem of the weakness of the internationally recognized government, which in turn had led to the weakness of the anti-Houthi coalition.

The workshop was organized and facilitated by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies and CMI — Martti Ahtisaari Peace Foundation, and funded by the EU.

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