UN pledges support as Yemen officially wraps up National Dialogue

Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

25 January 2014 – Praising national talks that concluded today in Yemen as “unprecedented” in the country and the region, a senior United Nations official said the outcomes of the year-long talks will serve as a “roadmap for a new Yemen”.

“You have presented an opportunity to create a new social contract and to meet the aspirations of Yemeni women and men for a country governed by the rule of law, justice, human rights, equal citizenship, democracy and good governance,” Jamal Benomar, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Adviser said in Sanaa.

“The National Dialogue [Conference] was no picnic but an onerous journey interrupted by considerable obstacles and challenges that sometimes reached the extent of sacrificing life,” he said, paying homage to number of delegates who were killed, threatened or attempted to be bribed during the months of the plenaries.

Despite its “difficult birth”, it yielded “consensual, clear and detailed principles”, Mr. Benomar said at the ceremony attended by representatives of the UN, the Arab League and neighbouring countries.

The envoy, who is due to brief the Security Council on Tuesday, said he would present to the 15-member and to the international community a story behind “this unprecedented achievement”.

“I will tell the world about a civilized Yemeni scene that we have witnessed closely over the past period,” he said. “It has become an inspiration to many other nations, particularly in light of the disorder, uncertainty and tragedies other countries in the region continue to suffer.”

He stressed that the UN, and international and regional communities would continue to support and stand by Yemen's side throughout its transition.

The country has been undergoing a democratic transition, with a Government of National Unity, which came to power in an election in February 2012 following the resignation of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. He agreed to step down following widespread protests similar to those seen across the Middle East and North Africa as part of the so-called “Arab Spring” pro-democracy movement.

Launched on 18 March, the National Dialogue Conference brought new actors to the political process such as youth, women, civil society representatives and the Hiraak Southern Movement. The Conference aimed to feed into a constitution-making process and pave the way for general elections later this year.

Mr. Benomar, who participated in the Final Plenary chaired by President Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi, today also reaffirmed the support of the UN and the international community to the Yemeni-led political process.

Turning to the so-called “southern question”, he noted that a fair solution under a new unified state on federal and democratic basis was at the core the talks.

Mr. Benomar said he was confident that Southerners would be “immune to calls for violence, which aim to force them into a dark tunnel” and urged them to “be responsive” to the outcome of the dialogue, which was agreed and signed by all constituents.


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