Although President Abdo Rabbo Mansour promised many times over the past few months that Yemen NDC - National Dialogue Dialogue - would neither suffer nor tolerate any delay, as the nation's future stood in the balance, Mohammed Qahtan, spokesman for the southern issue announced Tuesday that the Dialogue had been extended to October following difficulties.
Addressing the press Qahtan noted, "Negotiations about the future link between the country's north and south regions, as well as changing the republic into a future federal state are going on ... The final session is postponed to the first week of October."
The southern issue is essentially the elephant in the room.
Just as the NDC was created to sort the southern issue and solve decades of political and social recriminations against the central government, it is the southern issue which is now holding the NDC back and thus preventing Yemen from closing a difficult chapter of its history.
A year in its transitional period Yemenis are eager to see finalized change and return to normality.
While other issues have been solved without much difficulties or opposition, such as the issue of transitional justice or again the Saada dossier as NDC representatives successfully managed to find a balanced compromise in between what representatives sought to achieve and what could be achieved; the southern issue remains stubbornly embedded in the government's thigh, threatening to gangrene the entire political process.
Although Yemeni officials have tried to play down the extension, arguing that NDC representatives only need to iron out a few details before making their final decision known, news of deep political dissentions have worried the most optimistic analysts.
Former Yemen Ambassador Mustafa Ahmed Nuaaman actually warned that such a situation would almost inevitably take place back in 2012 when foreign partners and Yemeni politicians first floated the idea of a National Dialogue to solve Yemen's multitude of crises and preserve national unity. He cautioned against political procrastination and a lack of political realism when dealing with the southern dossier, noting that since no one had bothered address the real issues, preferring instead to concentrate on cosmetic changes here and there, hoping to maintain the same patronage system, only this time with a few more parties at the table, no long term viable solution would come out of the NDC.
He wrote in an analysis published earlier this September in Asharq al-Awsat, "The rush to elections without a convincing settlement is step into the unknown and dangerous territory, in which no one in Yemen would be safe, even if a few politicians thought that an envoy or an ambassador would bring them a magical solution."
He added, "the shine of deceitful power has pushed things onto a path full of obstacles that has further intensified the state of frustration. This was not ended by the transition process began in February 2012, reliance on money as a means of muzzling and winning over people has failed in the past and will fail again in the future."
As it stands the NDC faces a dual threat: al-Harak - Southern Secessionist Movement - and the GPC - General People's Congress aka the former ruling party -
If under the leadership of President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi the NDC bent over backward to convince southerners to return to the negotiating table earlier this month after they threatened to permanently withdraw and revert to their secessionist agenda, finally agreeing to implement some of the points al-Harak said to be paramount to any form of agreement -- retroactive payment of salaries and other state benefits, equal political representation, return of all unlawfully obtained properties and an official apology-- it is now the GPC which threatens to collapse the edifice.
Blackmailed into enforcing al-Harak demands, President Hadi announced last week that a new Special Committee in charge of the southern dossier would be set up with perfectly equal representation - 8 southern representatives and 8 northern representatives -
The 8+8 Committee was meant to reel back in representatives as to finalize an agreement and be done with the NDC altogether; only it did not, instead it complicated the situation as the former regime's men refused to support such a move.
On Wednesday, the GPC which is presided over by non-other then former President Ali Abdullah Saleh - the very men whose yoke al-Harak has tried to escape for the past decade - issued a statement in which it announced its boycott of the NDC.
"The GPC refuses the diversion in the dialogue’s objectives, and also rejects dialogue between various components being replaced by binary negotiations between the North and the South. What is taking place is dangerous and contrary to the constitution and the laws, rules and procedures of the national dialogue and contrary to the Gulf Initiative and its executive mechanism, and it is unacceptable."
Interestingly this statement came a day after official sources claimed UN Special Envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar had received a close agreement approved by the 8+8 Committee on Yemen's new institutional and political structure - a federation of state -
As it happens GPC representatives have refused to sign the document, arguing on technicalities when really it is the idea of a power-sharing deal which they disapprove. of
Nevertheless officials are insisting, "There is general agreement on Yemen as a federal state, but the dispute is about the number of regions," or is there?
Ahmed al-Khalani, a former minister and leader of the General Congress Party (GCP) of former president Saleh, was quoted on Thursday by Reuters as saying he would refuse a north-south split. "This constitutes a crime against the nation and should not be tolerated."
To make matters worse the GPC is circulating a petition against the 8+8 on account it violates the by-law of the NDC and thus the power-transfer initiative as per signed by then-President Saleh in 2012.
With time running out Yemen is politically right back where it started. As Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
Until politicians change their outlook no solution will be found and Yemen will continue to disintegrate.