New York

24 September 2014

Secretary-General's message to Friends of Yemen Ministerial Meeting [delivered by Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs]

I commend the Governments of the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen for their continued commitment to convening the Friends of Yemen. 

Since the uprisings of 2011, the people of Yemen have made determined efforts to defy the forces of violent conflict by resolving to build the foundations for lasting peace and development.  Based on the comprehensive Transition Agreement signed in Riyadh on 23 November 2011, they managed an orderly and negotiated transfer of power with a clear roadmap and the unified support of the Security Council.  This January, they successfully concluded an all-inclusive National Dialogue Conference with an agreement to build a new federal and democratic State.  In addition, the constitution drafting process has been launched. 

These are remarkable achievements that stand out in the region as examples of peaceful change. They also speak to the determination and perseverance of President Hadi and the Yemeni people to move the transition forward against considerable odds.

Yet, as recent months have shown, serious challenges remain.  Political tensions and instability in Yemen have increased and led to hostilities.  In addition, acts aimed at undermining the transition continue to occur, and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula continues to be an acute threat.  These developments pose real risks to the transition process and must be reversed. 

Against this background, the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, brokered by my Special Adviser Jamal Benomar and signed by all the key parties in Yemen, is a step in the right direction.  I commend the Yemeni parties for coming together and reaching an agreement on a peaceful way forward. 

All sides now bear a solemn responsibility to implement this agreement in full and without delay, exercising maximum restraint, ceasing all violent acts, and enabling the legitimate authorities to fully exercise their national duties.  Now is the time for all Yemenis to make meaningful and credible efforts to reach peaceful and lasting solutions that serve the greater national interest.  To be seen as legitimate by all, these must be based on the Transition Agreement, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference and relevant Security Council resolutions.  In this context, my Special Adviser and his team have continued their engagement in Yemen with all sides and could therefore not attend the meeting today.  

I am also concerned that the humanitarian situation in Yemen has not improved. Millions of people continue to rely on life-saving assistance, and their plight is further exacerbated by recurrent conflict and insecurity. I urge Member States to increase their support for life-saving and stabilization efforts that will make a tangible investment in the future of the Yemeni people.  I also urge them to take more concerted efforts to help revive Yemen’s economy. 

I count on the members of the Security Council, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Friends of Yemen to sharpen their focus on helping Yemen.

If we continue to stand united and step up our support, I am confident that Yemen’s transition towards a more stable, democratic and prosperous future can succeed.  This would benefit the people of Yemen – and it would constitute an important contribution to regional and international peace and security.