What's In Blue

Posted Tue 28 Jan 2014

Consultations on the conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference in Yemen

This afternoon, Council members will meet in consultations to receive a briefing by Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen. The meeting is likely to focus on the recent conclusion of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) and the next steps ahead for Yemen’s political transition. While no draft outcome had been circulated at press time, Council members are expected to discuss a new resolution on Yemen in the coming weeks.

Council members will likely be interested in hearing more about the adoption, on 21 January, of the Document of the National Comprehensive Dialogue agreed upon by NDC members. This outcome document outlines key principles for the upcoming constitution-drafting process and consolidates the issues agreed upon in the nine working groups of the NDC. Benomar is expected to brief Council members on the final stages of the NDC and all the work which remains still to be done in Yemen. In this respect, it is expected that Benomar will brief Council members on a revised timeline for the transition process, taking into account the work of a soon-to-be-appointed Constitutional Commission, the holding of a referendum to adopt the draft constitution and general elections. (On the southern issue, following a 23 December agreement providing for the creation of a federal state, President Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi issued a presidential decree on 27 January to form a 22 member commission charged with determining the number of regions and their provinces.)

A related matter that may be addressed in this afternoon’s discussion is the impact of spoilers on the transition process. It seems the possibility of imposing measures under Article 41 (i.e. sanctions) of the UN Charter against spoilers will be discussed this afternoon, although an agreement might be difficult to reach. Even though the NDC finally concluded, Council members might ask Benomar about the possible impact sanctions might have in easing a consistent pattern of obstruction by key political actors in Yemen. (In resolution 2051 of 12 June 2012, the Council had already expressed its readiness to consider sanctions, yet implementing such measures would require another resolution).

Council members are also likely to be interested in Benomar’s assessment of the security situation in Yemen, given the ongoing clashes between Salafist groups and the Houthis (a Zaidi Shi’a group) not only in the town of Dammaj but in other parts of the Sa’ada Arhab and Amran governorates. Even though a presidential truce was announced on 8 January, the fighting resumed soon afterwards. Council members are also likely to inquire about the 21 January assassination of the Houthi representative at the NDC, Ahmad Sharafeddin, and its impact in the participation of the Houthis in the next stages of the political process. Concerns will also probably be raised over the ongoing unrest in the eastern Hadramout governorate, where armed tribesmen have been clashing with the government for over two months and where recent attacks on oil pipelines temporarily halted oil production.

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