7 February 2013
Security Council

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council

6916th Meeting (PM)

Security Council Briefed on Results of 27 January Mission to Yemen


The co-leaders of the recent Security Council mission to Yemen reported today that, with the first phase of the country’s nascent political transition successfully completed, President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi had warned of “deep challenges” ahead, as his Government laboured to create “a new Yemen, built on the aspirations of the youth that occupied the squares” around the capital, Sana’a.

Just back from a brief trip to the troubled Gulf nation on 27 January 2012, British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant and Moroccan Ambassador Mohammed Loulichki told the Security Council’s wider membership that the mission, which included talks with high-level Yemini political and military officials, as well as the United Nations country team, had achieved its objectives, which were to evaluate implementation of Security Council resolution 2051 (2012) and to assess progress on political transition. 

Ambassador Grant said that President Hadi had updated the Council envoys on the transition timeline and had reported that phase one — which had involved military restructuring and had consolidated gains against Al-Qaida — was now complete.  He told them Yemen had been saved from civil war thanks to the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and Security Council engagement.  Yet, President Hadi had said that “deep challenges” remained, as phase two of the transition would focus on ensuring that a national dialogue got under way imminently, leading to elections in 2014.  Ambassador Grant said that since the Council’s visit, the President had announced that the dialogue would begin on 18 March.

He said that the President Hadi had made a “direct and clear” appeal for continued Council support and had also urged the body to deal decisively with those forces bent on undermining the transition process.  Indeed, the President had said that “a new Yemen is needed”, one that reflected the aspirations of the young people that occupied the squares.  For its part, the Council members underlined the need for the transition timeline to remain on track, especially as there were several key milestones to be achieved, including passing laws on a system of transitional justice, launching the national dialogue, and setting up a mutual accountability framework to deal with pledged funds.  

He said that in his discussions with the Military Committee, those officials had assessed positively the recent decrees to unify command structures, and had said the focus would be on reforming Ministry of Interior.  The Defence Minister had argued that the Yemeni military did not recruit or use child soldiers and had pledged cooperation fully with other law enforcement agencies.

The United Nations country team had briefed the Council members on the troubling humanitarian situation, reporting that half of Yemen’s population of 24 million was without access to clean water and sanitation; 10 million people were in need of food aid; 6 million needed access to health care; 1 million children had no support; 6 million young people between the ages of 15 and 28 were unemployed.

The 2013 Yemen humanitarian response team needed further support, the Council was told.  Ambassador Grant said that President Hadi had called on Friends of Yemen to transform the $8 billion pledged at two successive conferences in 2012 into concrete assistance, especially ahead of the group’s next meeting in London, set for 7 March.  Ambassador Grant said that the Yemen Government continued to welcome Security Council engagement and expected it to continue.  “I hope that this Council is capable of doing so,” he said.

Briefing on additional aspects of the visit, Ambassador Loulichki said that during the meeting with the President and Head of Government, as well as with ministers and the Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the mission had expressed support for Government efforts to render the transition period a success and voiced its satisfaction with the efforts aimed at a national consensus, particularly in the areas of security and basic services delivery. 

The Head of Government, he noted, had focused on the transition and its obstacles, especially in the political sphere, and had urged the Security Council “not to hesitate to act in the firmest possible way in standing up to anyone who wished to spoil the political process”.

He recalled that the Head of Government had reaffirmed that national dialogue covered all issues of importance and was aimed at building a new foundation for national unity.  Renewed dialogue between Yemen and the Security Council was also considered, particularly in the context of delays in the national reconciliation process and financial contributions pledged to Yemen.

The mission, he said, had also met with the Gulf Cooperation Council representatives and had expressed great satisfaction with that body for the role it had played in ensuring the success of the transition and the executive mechanism set up for that purpose.  It had also expressed its satisfaction with the Gulf Cooperation Council’s political and financial support of Yemen. 

In turn, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Secretary General had expressed his satisfaction with the Security Council’s visit and its messages, which he said had been clear and rightly directed at donors and investors.  The meeting had also addressed immunity for the outgoing President; management of pledges; the risk of failure in the event of further delays in the constitutional referendum; as well as issues concerning the south of the country.

As for the meeting on national dialogue, the mission had expressed its satisfaction with the achievements of the Preparatory Committee and voiced its encouragement for coupling success of the national dialogue with confidence-building measures and transparency, in order to enable the move to the next phase — a constitutional referendum and organization of parliamentary and presidential elections.  That meeting had recognized the importance of the Council’s mission and had expressed the desire for the Council’s continued support of the transition. 

The Ambassador said he was satisfied with the mission, as it had enabled the Security Council to examine much more closely both the progress and obstacles.  He encouraged the Council to follow the situation very carefully, including the next phases of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Initiative. 

The meeting began at 3:10 and adjourned at 3:25.

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For information media • not an official record