Welcome to this important Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of Yemen.
I thank the Governments of Yemen, the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for their leadership in bringing us together.
I especially thank the President of Yemen, His Excellency Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, for joining us.
The people of Yemen have embarked on a path of change for their country. Today, the international community has an important opportunity to discuss how it can best help Yemen and its people to move forward towards a better future.
Since your inauguration in February, Mr. President, you have shown great statesmanship, courage and wisdom in moving Yemen’s Transition process forward, in accordance with the Transition Agreement signed in Riyadh in November 2011.
When the unrest began early last year, Yemen’s people responded by working with the international community towards ending violence, promoting dialogue and building the foundations for a more peaceful, stable and prosperous future.
I immediately dispatched my Special Adviser, Mr. Jamal Benomar, to explore how my good offices could contribute to a negotiated political settlement.
The United Nations was committed to building on the work of the Gulf Cooperation Council, local diplomats on the ground and other international partners.
Following our close engagement with all Yemeni sides as well as international partners, the United Nations was able to facilitate face-to-face negotiations among Yemeni leaders from across the political spectrum at the request of the Yemenis. These negotiations resulted in a Transition Agreement for a peaceful transfer of power and a subsequent two-year transition process, including a National Dialogue, constitutional reform and, ultimately, new general elections in 2014.
I was very encouraged by the agreement reached in November.
Then, in February, the world applauded as Yemenis braved security and logistical challenges to go to the polls. The success is theirs – but important support was provided by members of the Security Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Friends of Yemen, which joined forces to foster peaceful change.
Now, less than a year into the transition, we are witnessing a remarkable change.
One year ago, Yemen was on the brink of civil war. Now, despite the many challenges ahead, Yemen has a new, elected President, a Government of National Unity and a framework for economic recovery. Yemenis from all walks of life are gearing up for a vibrant national debate to help shape the future of their country.
I would like to commend you, President Hadi, for your efforts to reach out to all Yemenis to restore peace, stability and security, restructure the Yemeni armed forces, and free Yemen from terrorism. I expect all Yemenis to work constructively towards achieving these and all other transition goals in full and on time.
As we are all aware, progress on the security front is linked to progress on the economic and political fronts. We are committed to helping the Government and people rise to their challenges. We all have a responsibility to see that the $6.4 billion recently pledged in Riyadh is quickly translated into tangible and positive differences on the ground. It is especially important that these contributions help address Yemen’s humanitarian needs.
The National Dialogue will be crucial. I have asked my Special Adviser to be fully engaged in supporting all sides. We must ensure that the process is well-prepared, fully inclusive and focused on results that benefit all Yemenis. My Special Adviser will elaborate on the UN’s role later during this meeting. I know I can count on all of you to support this process to the fullest.
The reverberations of Yemen’s transition will be felt beyond the country’s borders. Success will also send important signals to other States facing similar challenges.
I will mobilize the entire UN system to back President Hadi’s efforts to ensure a successful political transition in the interest of peace, stability and prosperity for all Yemeni people. Yemen is making steady progress toward greater stability and development. We must do everything possible to protect the fragile gains.
Let us pledge our commitment to supporting the courageous Yemeni people as they build a more promising future.