Yemen has launched a UN-backed national dialogue aimed at paving the way for a new constitution and elections, Al Jazeera reported.
At least 500 representatives of Yemen's various political groups - from secessionists in the south to Zaidi Shia rebels in the north, in addition to civil society representatives - are taking part in the dialogue in Sanaa, the capital.
The initiative, scheduled to run for six months, is being boycotted by hardline southern factions.
The factions staged a general strike and protests in the port city of Aden on Sunday against the process.
The participants in the dialogue aim to draft a new constitution and prepare for general elections in February 2014, after a two-year transition led by President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi.
Yemen, the only country where the Arab Spring revolt led to a negotiated settlement, is holding the dialogue as part of a UN-brokered deal that eased former president Ali Abdullah Saleh out of office following an 11-month uprising against his 33-year rule.
The talks, originally scheduled to start in mid-November, were delayed mainly due to the refusal of factions in the Southern Movement to join the talks.
The movement is instead campaigning for autonomy, or secession, for the formerly independent south.