Yemeni authorities urgently need to take "confidence-building measures" in the south after demonstrations there, the UN's special advisor to the country said Thursday.
Jamal Benomar said such actions were required to "address the long standing grievances of southerners over unlawful or unjust seizure of property and dismissal from the military or the civil service."
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Yemen, the only Arab state where an uprising in 2011 eventually led to a negotiated settlement, began a national dialogue on March 18 to pave the way for the drafting of a new constitution and the staging of elections.
Benomar said the timeline "remains a serious challenge" with less than a year remaining to conclude a constitution-making process -- including a referendum, electoral reform and the general elections.
In announcing the dialogue, which is intended to last six months, President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi warned Yemenis against using force to express political views.
But pro-autonomy groups have staged street protests each Wednesday and Saturday since February 21 in protest at the killings of southern activists in confrontations with security forces.