By Nicholas Hopton
Yesterday the Security Council, led by the UK and Moroccan Permanent Representatives to the United Nations, visited Sana’a on its first visit to the Middle East in five years. British Permanent Representative, Sir Mark Lyall-Grant, said “Yemen’s future rests on the ability of the country to come together, to make real progress on political transition and to tackle the serious and ongoing humanitarian and security challenges. This is no easy task. But we are pleased, that this has come one step closer, with a firm statement by President Hadi that the National Dialogue has to move forward.”
I am delighted that the UK was able, with the Kingdom of Morocco, to bring this important visit about. The Council greatly appreciated the efforts and hospitality of President Hadi and the government.
The United Nations Secretary-General said at the UK-Saudi hosted Friends of Yemen Ministerial meeting in New York on 27 September 2011 “Yemenis from all walks of life are now gearing up for a vibrant national debate to help shape the future of their country.” The Security Council visit clearly demonstrated firm support for President Hadi and the National Dialogue process.”
But much more remains to be done. Pledges of assistance made at the Friends of Yemen to help build a modern state must be delivered, as well as additional support for the underfunded humanitarian appeal that Yemen desperately needs. Politically, a constitutional referendum must take place before general elections in February 2014 and further military restructuring and transitional justice laws are necessary. Those responsible for human rights violations should be held accountable.
It is clear that any derailment of this political transition would affect international peace and security. The humanitarian situation would worsen, the economy would deteriorate, and terrorism would thrive. If elements seek to stand in the way or threaten to push the process off the tracks, Security Council Resolution 2051 clearly states that the Council will ‘consider further measures available under Article 41 of the United Nations charter’. As the Council made clear during their visit, the international community will not allow the few to block the aspirations of the vast majority of Yemenis.”
My constant message to Yemenis I meet, from all walks of society, is that the UK stands ready to support the Yemeni people in their efforts to secure the stability and prosperity they want and deserve. We will demonstrate that commitment again when the next Friends of Yemen ministerial meeting takes place in London on 7 March.