What's In Blue

Posted Fri 15 Feb 2013

Adoption of a Presidential Statement on Yemen

The Security Council is set to adopt a presidential statement on Yemen later today (15 February). The draft statement was first circulated last Friday (8 February) by the UK, the lead country on Yemen. It was put under silence procedure on Wednesday evening (13 February) and was expected to be adopted yesterday morning. However, one Council member broke silence early yesterday resulting in further negotiations over the course of the day. The revised draft statement was put under silence procedure yesterday evening till 10 this morning.

Overall it seems that negotiations on the draft text were not difficult. Following the breaking of silence on the draft, it appears some modification was made to language on reports of money and weapons being brought into Yemen from outside the country to undermine the transition. Suggestions earlier in the week from some Council members for the inclusion of language on children and armed conflict as well as the need for donors to follow through with the almost $8 billion of pledges made in 2012 appears to have been accepted with little difficulty.

Following the 27 January 2013 Council visiting mission to Yemen, a presidential statement appears to further demonstrate the Council’s firm commitment to remain closely engaged on the situation there. Following the briefing on Yemen on 7 February by the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the situation in Yemen, Jamal Benomar, it seems that Council members decided to issue a presidential statement to apply further pressure on potential spoilers in the political transition process. (Council members first indicated their readiness to consider sanctions in resolution 2051 and reiterated their intention to do so during their visit to Yemen.)

The presidential statement welcomes the announcement by President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi of the start of the National Dialogue Conference scheduled for 18 March, highlighting the importance of inclusivity during the transition process and involving the full participation of all segments of society. Council members appear to have used this opportunity to stress the importance of the transition process proceeding according to the original timeline, ensuring the National Dialogue Conference leads to a constitutional referendum followed by elections by February 2014.

The presidential statement also raises the issue of legislation on transitional justice to support reconciliation, urging the Yemeni Government to pass this legislation without further delay.

It seems that the presidential statement, while reiterating the Council’s readiness to consider further measures, also singles out former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and former Vice President Ali Salim Al-Beidh in relation to reports of interference in the transition process. While it seems that there was little opposition to including the two names, going forward there may be questions raised about whether this could in fact have an impact on the participation of certain political parties and the nature of the discussions of the National Dialogue Conference.

While the imposition of sanctions against spoilers remains a clear possibility, it seems unlikely that any decision on such sanctions will be made before the start of the National Dialogue Conference.

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