In speech to UN Assembly, Yemen’s Minister highlights political transition, urges ongoing support

30 September 2014

With Yemen pressing ahead after coming through a complex, United Nations-assisted transition, the country’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Jamal Abdullah Al-Sallal, told the General Assembly today that continued international support would be needed, including a “strong call” from the UN Security Council against those seeking to undermine the political process.

Commending the people of his country for seeking change and putting an end to injustice and despotism since 2011, he said the Government has moved quickly to end the conditions that led to crisis and civil war, and followed through with a political transition process. Here, he thanked UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Jamal Benomar, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the League of Arab States, among others, that helped “steer us in the right direction in Yemen.”

Yemen was pushing forward with its transition, having held a national dialogue conference and having set up a constitutional drafting committee. Elections had also been called. Yet, the country still faced challenges due to recent dangerous political escalation. Militants had marched on capital, Sana’a, looting and pillaging homes and taking over State institutions. “We know that arms cannot solve our challenges. The Government has dealt with them carefully because our people are buckling under the (strain),” said Mr. Al-Sallal.

The Government has adopted a policy of political reconciliation and signed a new security annex in order to maintain social cohesion in the country so the people can concentrate on the political process. All parties must adhere to the aims of the peace and national stability accord, he said, stressing that the international community must also continue to support the country, including through political and economic assistance. “We also need a strong position form the Security Council against all parties seeking to undermine the political process,” he said.

Amid all this, Yemen faced major economic challenges, including scarcity of resources, rising unemployment, deepening poverty, and an increase in budgetary deficits. The country is also witnessing a humanitarian crisis, as half the population – just over 14 million people – depend on some form of aid. Mr. Al-Sallal also stressed that Yemen is hosting nearly 1 million refugees from Horn of Africa countries. If the humanitarian situation deteriorates further, there would be repercussions on the political process, a fact the international community knew well.

“We need economic support commensurate with the challenges we are facing,” he said, underscoring that Yemen looks forward to assistance from the region and the wider international community. Mr. Al-Sallal said Yemen also needs support to put an end to all bastions of terrorism in the country and the immediate region, among other security challenges. Yemen also sought cooperation in training and capacity building. “Yemen’s stability will positively impact the region and the entire world,” he said.


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