Violence must stop

National Yemen

Jane Marriot Britsh Ambassador to Yemen

By British Ambassador,  Jane Marriott

Yemen’s National Dialogue continues to make progress and the closing plenary has re-started its work after the break for the Id al-Adha.  But it still faces considerable challenges: it is time to reach agreement where possible and move to the next steps.  There is a lot of valuable work done by the National Dialogue that needs to be put into action.

 I was reminded this weekend by some Yemeni visitors of the growing impatience of the Yemeni people with their government and politicians, and the need for changes that will bring hope and real improvements in living standards.

 But while the participants in the National Dialogue move towards developing outcomes that will shape a new Yemeni constitution and state, I am also deeply concerned by the reports that I read and hear daily about continuing violence in all parts of the country.

 In particular, there has been growing violence in the area of Saadah and Dammaj in the north of the country over these past days, which is taking on an increasingly sectarian tone.

 Yemen has been famous over the centuries for the ability of different sects to live together under rulers who were themselves of different sects.  The use of force by either side, or calls for holy war by one side against the other, are not the way to resolve this.  Such actions are not compatible with the dialogue that is going on in Sanaa, and threaten to derail it.

 The UN’s envoy, Jamal Benomar, is calling for an immediate ceasefire in Dammaj, and the Red Cross is seeking to evacuate the wounded.  I can only add my voice to theirs.