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Cairo - Yemeni President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi has set March 18 as the starting date for national reconciliation talks, the state news agency SABA reported Wednesday.
President Hadi has called on all national forces to ensure the success of the National Dialogue Conference and seize this historic opportunity to achieve justice, freedom and equality, SABA reported.
The conference is a key step in Yemen's internationally backed transition process, which started with last year's handover of power to Hadi from long-time president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Members of the UN Security Council visited Yemen last month in a gesture of support for the country's political transition.
The Southern Movement, which seeks independence or autonomy for the former state of Southern Yemen, is the only major political force refusing to take part in the conference.
Southerners say they have suffered abuses and have been marginalized since the former southern army was defeated in a 1994
Since in power, Hadi has been seeking to restructure the divided army and achieve national reconciliation.
The presence of al-Qaeda-affiliated insurgents, the collapse of government authority in much of the country and widespread poverty have all made Yemen a priority for international action, say observers. - Sapa-dpa