January 2013 Monthly Forecast

Posted 21 December 2012
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MIDDLE EAST

Yemen

Expected Council Action

In January, Council members will likely be briefed by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser Jamal Benomar (Morocco) on the situation in Yemen.

A presidential or press statement is a possible outcome.

Key Recent Developments

On 4 December, Benomar briefed the Council highlighting the breakthrough agreement on the allocation of seats for the forthcoming National Dialogue Conference. The conference, which will feed into the drafting of a new constitution, is expected to start in early 2013 and conclude in the lead up to general elections scheduled for February 2014.

Challenges to the political process remain. There is continued mistrust between the two principal political blocs that make up the Government of National Unity. Furthermore, resentment among southerners over unmet demands related to unresolved issues since unification has deepened divisions and prompted further demands of local autonomy.

On 19 December, President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi issued key decrees related to the structure and centralisation of the armed forces. The decrees included the disbanding of the Republican Guard led by Brig. Gen. Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh—son of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh—as well as the appointment of a new Chief of Staff of the Central Security Forces replacing Brig. Gen. Yahya Mohammed Abdullah Saleh, a nephew of the former president.

The Secretary-General visited Sana’a on 19 November to mark the first anniversary of the Yemen Peace and Transition Agreement. Ban highlighted the need for a Yemen-led dialogue, as part of the path towards an inclusive transition to democracy.

Special Representative on Children and Armed Conflict Leila Zerrougui also visited Yemen in late November, leading to a commitment by the government to end recruitment and use of children by the armed forces.

A Council visiting mission to Yemen originally scheduled for October 2012 was postponed to early 2013.

Key Issues

A key issue is the National Dialogue Conference, including the constitution-drafting process, as well as the work of the electoral commission, in preparation for the 2014 elections.

Options

One option is for the Council to issue a presidential statement, welcoming progress and urging the start of the National Dialogue Conference.

Another option to signal support for the transition would be to schedule the previously postponed Council visiting mission around the same period as the start of the National Dialogue. This may also be timely in light of the next Friends of Yemen meeting anticipated for March. (Saudi Arabia, the UK and Yemen jointly chair the Friends of Yemen, which also includes key Persian Gulf countries, the G8 and intergovernmental organisations.)

Council Dynamics

Council members are united in their support for President Hadi and the transition process and are firm in their emphasis of the importance of a timely start to the National Dialogue.

The UK is the lead country on Yemen.

UN Documents on Yemen

Security Council Resolutions  
12 June 2012 S/RES/2051 This resolution focused on the second phase of the transition and expressed the Council’s readiness to consider further measures, including under Article 41 of the Charter.
Security Council Meeting Records  
4 December 2012 S/PV.6878 This was a briefing from Special Adviser to the Secretary-General for Yemen Jamal Benomar on the situation in Yemen.