Secretary-General's press encounter outside Security Council
New York, 23 November 2011SG: I am encouraged by the positive development of the situation in Yemen. Yesterday I called President Saleh and strongly urged him to sign the agreement based on the GCC initiative. He told me that he would do [so] immediately and he asked me that the United Nations should provide the necessary support and continue to be present. He highly commended the role of my Special Envoy, Mr. Benomar, and I told him that the United Nations will spare no effort. And, as the Secretary-General of the United Nations, I will do my best to mobilize the necessary resources and support, so that peace and stability and democratic order will be restored in Yemen. And I am very much encouraged by what we have [done], working together with the GCC and other concerned partners.
Q: Do you get the sense that Mr. Saleh was ready to abide by the agreement and step down and hand over power and sort of take a back step from politics, or do you think that he will still insinuate himself into them?
SG: Yes, he told me clearly that he will hand over all power, but I understand the arrangement and agreement is that he will still remain as President. But he told me that he will come to New York to take medical treatment immediately after signing this agreement.
Q: What about the immunity provisions of the GCC deal? Was this discussed at all?
SG: I have not discussed in detail on that matter, but there has been agreement among GCC members which was endorsed and supported by the UN Security Council resolution. I hope that all this should be the basis of furthering the process in Yemen.
Q: What kind of support do you think that the United Nations can give, in practical terms going forward?
SG: My Special Envoy, Mr. Benomar, has been there a long time speaking with all the parties, including the opposition. Therefore it would still be very useful, as he asked me to do, that the United Nations should be present and continue to monitor and help the full implementation of this agreement. I told him that he could count on the United Nations.
Q: Just to clarify. He said that he would go to Saudi Arabia to sign the agreement and then come immediately to New York for medical treatment?
SG: This is what he told me – that he would come to New York after signing the agreement to have medical treatment. So if he comes to New York, I will be happy to meet him.
Q: Before you go Sir, do you have any comment on the report in Bahrain that has just been issued?
SG: I am going to meet the Ambassador of Bahrain this afternoon and will have an opportunity of discussing this situation more in detail and get more briefing about the report of this Commission.