November 2011 Monthly Forecast

Posted 31 October 2011
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MIDDLE EAST

Yemen

Expected Council Action
The Council is expecting a briefing by Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen. The briefing is required by resolution 2014 adopted on 21 October.

Key Recent Developments
A wave of anti-government social protests in Yemen has been ongoing since 3 February. To date, it has claimed over 200 lives and has left more than 1,000 people wounded. The Secretary-General appointed Benomar as his Special Adviser at the start of the year.

On 19 April, the Council was first briefed on Yemen by Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe and Benomar. On 24 June, members were again briefed by Benomar and issued a press statement expressing grave concern at the deteriorating situation and welcomed the mediation efforts by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Benomar’s next briefing to the Council was on 9 August. Later that day, in a press statement, Council members expressed their concern at the serious deterioration of the situation urging all parties to move forward whilst acknowledging the importance of the GCC initiative. (The GCC initiative calls for a peaceful transition of power from President Ali Abdullah Saleh to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi during an interim period leading up to elections. The initiative also provides immunity to Saleh and his family.)

On 24 September, Council members issued another press statement urging all sides to reject the violence that had erupted on Saleh’s surprise return to Yemen the previous day after undergoing surgery and medical treatment in Saudi Arabia. Saleh had sustained injuries as a result of an explosion in his presidential compound on 3 June. 

On 21 October, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 2014 with key elements focusing on the GCC initiative for a transfer of power in Yemen, concern over the activities of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and the need for humanitarian assistance.

On 24 October, Saleh responded to resolution 2014 by saying, as he has done in the past, that he was ready to sit down with the opposition parties and their partners to discuss implementing the GCC initiative.

Human Rights Related Developments
On 18 October, Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) strongly condemned the reported killing of a number of peaceful protesters at the hands of security forces in recent days. OHCHR has called for an international, independent, transparent investigation, for accountability and for justice and has stated that all “those responsible for the hundreds of killings since the protest movement began in Yemen more than eight months ago must be prosecuted, regardless of rank or title.”

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is to determine the actual impact of resolution 2014 and define its role in introducing a peaceful resolution to the current crisis.

A further issue for the Council is its role in ensuring the territorial integrity of Yemen and preventing any large-scale civil war.

Options
The Council’s options include:

  • simply keeping abreast of the developments in Yemen and receiving regular briefings from the DPA; or
  • issuing a statement encouraging Yemen’s key players, with the aid of the GCC, to continue to engage in dialogue.

Council Dynamics
Among Council members, there are differences between those who see the GCC initiative as the way forward and those who believe a modified approach to the GCC initiative may perhaps be warranted.

During the discussions regarding the draft of resolution 2014, some Council members were concerned about possible sovereignty issues, as the resolution indirectly calls for a head of state to leave power. However, Council members apparently deemed it necessary to send a signal regarding the peaceful transfer of power in Yemen and felt comfortable with the language that places an emphasis on support for the GCC initiative, noting Saleh’s own stated intention to honour the initiative.

The UK has the lead in the Council on Yemen.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/2014 (21 October 2011) endorsed the GCC initiative for a peaceful transition of power.

Security Council Press Statements

  • SC/10394 (24 September 2011) urged all parties to reject violence.
  • SC/10357 (9 August 2011) expressed concern at the worsening economic, humanitarian and security situations.
  • SC/10296 (24 June 2011) expressed grave concern at the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation.

Other Relevant Facts

Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen

Jamal Benomar (Morocco)

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