What's In Blue

Consultations on Yemen

Tomorrow afternoon (25 January), Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, Jamal Benomar, is due to brief Council members in consultations following his recent trip to Yemen. (Resolution 2014 [2011] requested a Council briefing every 60 days.) It seems that Benomar is likely to report cautious optimism ahead of the presidential elections scheduled for 21 February.

It appears that the Council may issue a press statement following the briefing reiterating its call for full compliance with the GCC initiative, and the accompanying implementation mechanism, in a timely fashion.

The elections will apparently take place despite the various technical and logistical challenges at present. Council members are likely to be interested in an update of the situation on the ground in Yemen after President Ali Abdullah Saleh left the country on Sunday (22 January), bound for the US to receive medical treatment. (His departure was met with renewed protests in Yemen calling for his prosecution. Media reports over the weekend indicated that a law was adopted on Saturday granting Saleh “full and irrevocable” immunity from prosecution for any offences committed during his 33 years in office.)

Among the challenges facing Yemen, Benomar is likely to highlight the fragility of the agreement based on the GCC initiative and the accompanying implementation mechanism between the opposition and Saleh’s ruling party.

Other areas that are likely to be covered in his briefing include the need for greater political inclusivity of various Yemeni factions that were not part of the earlier GCC deal. These include the Houthis in the north as well as the southern secessionists. Additionally, Benomar may address the role of the seemingly disenfranchised pro-democracy movement, which has taken to the streets calling for Saleh to be put on trial.

Other concerns which may be covered are the threat posed by Al-Qaeda affiliates, as well as social, economic and humanitarian obstacles and the resulting security challenges. In addition, it is possible that Benomar may highlight the importance of having the Council actively and regularly monitor the political progress in Yemen.

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