Yemen: UN envoy urges 'definitive decisions' as peace talks continue in Kuwait

16 July 2016

The United Nations-supported Yemeni peace talks continued in Kuwait today after several weeks of daily sessions and two weeks of intensive consultations with regional and political leaders, the UN envoy for the country has said.

“The time has come for you to take definitive decisions that demonstrate to the Yemeni people the sincerity of your intentions and your national obligations,” said Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy on Yemen, in a statement, noting that the decisions will primarily revolve around Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) and other relevant resolutions, the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism, and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

The cessation of hostilities declared on 10 April to end nearly 16 months of conflict in Yemen has continued to provide relief from violence in many parts of the country, but serious violations have occurred, such as the shelling of a popular market in Taiz on 4 June, which resulted in 18 civilian deaths and tens of injuries. In addition, there have been violations of the truce in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia.

The Special Envoy indicated that meetings will continue to be held in Kuwait for an additional two weeks, during which the focus will be on the “complete and comprehensive consolidation” of the cessation of hostilities, the activation of the de-escalation and coordination committee and the local committees, in addition to the formation of the military committees that will supervise the withdrawal and the handing over of weapons from area A and on the opening of safe corridors for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

At the same time, the prisoners and detainee committee will continue its work, the Special Envoy said, reiterating the necessity of the release of all prisoners and detainees as soon as possible.

“The priorities for this stage are the consolidation of the cessation of hostilities, the improvement of the humanitarian situation and an agreement on the security arrangements so that we can manage to address all of the other issues,” he said.

Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that during the past two weeks, he convened intensive meetings in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Oman to discuss the security, political, economic and humanitarian issues.

He said he held more than one meeting with President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, members of the Yemeni political leadership, and the delegations participating in the peace talks, in addition to the representatives of other parties and political actors.

In addition, the Special Envoy said he met the Secretary-General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, and was in “constant contact” with other political figures and diplomats, who reiterated their support for UN efforts and the importance of reaching a final solution for the crisis in Yemen.

“This stage is delicate and definitive; you are going to be closely scrutinized by the Yemeni and international public,” the Special Envoy emphasized.

Noting that the UN has “put at your disposal all of its political and administrative expertise, while the State of Kuwait kindly devoted a full team for logistical, security and political support,” the envoy stressed that such efforts would not be sufficient if all efforts necessary to ensure security and stability in Yemen were made.

“People do not require political statements detailing your concessions, patriotism or your concern for them. Yemeni men and women will understand your concern when you are concerned with their security and will appreciate your labours when their security, humanitarian, and economical situation improves,” the Special Envoy said.

“Political statements and speeches lose their credibility with every security breach and with each loss of civilian life,” he added.

Emphasizing that there was “much to achieve” in the two weeks ahead, Mr. Ould Cheikh Ahmed expressed hope that those participating in the peace talks would take advantage of the opportunity.

“Two weeks to demonstrate good will and credibility and concern for the national interest. Two weeks to build upon the solid common ground achieved and on the decisions of the previous period,” he said, adding that “the attainment of peace might be hard but derailing is easy.”

“You must listen to the voices of women and men who call for peace. Work towards bettering the situation of the citizens, human rights, and on achieving the aspirations of the Yemeni youth. Leadership is actions, not words,” the Special Envoy concluded.

After intense talks with both parties, last month the envoy reported that he had presented a roadmap outlining a practical plan to end the conflict in Yemen. It provides for implementation of the security arrangements specified in Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) and the establishment of a national unity government that would ensure the delivery of basic services and address the recovery of the Yemeni economy.

According to the proposed roadmap, the national unity government would also be responsible for preparing a political dialogue to define the remaining steps for a comprehensive political solution, including the electoral law, the mandate of the institutions, which would oversee the transition period and the completion of the draft constitution. The delegations have responded positively to the proposals, but have not yet reached agreement on the sequencing of the different steps provided for in the roadmap.


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