By NY Staff
On December 9th, the U.S Ambassador to Yemen Matthew Tauler held a press conference to discuss the current situation in Yemen.
Tauler expressed his deep sadness for the death of Luke Somers and the South African teacher Pierre Korkie, who were victims of terrorism. He said that the rescue operation was carefully planned, and they undertook it because they knew that the captives intended to execute Luke on Saturday. “We are deeply sad for the death of Somers and Korkie, the result of a failed rescue attempt. This operation highlights the coordination between U.S and Yemeni forces and the determination to go to the great lengths to get rid of terrorism,” Tauler added.
The U.S Ambassador explained that since the kidnapping of Luke Somers, U.S along with Yemeni security forces have been engaging in intensive efforts to try to locate him. “We determined his location with the help of Yemeni forces and some luck,” he stated. The first attempt didn’t succeed in releasing Luke but it resulted in the release of a number of other prisoners. He added that the release of these individuals helped in developing further information about Luke’s location. “We can speculate why al-Qaida decided to release a video. It is possible that they realized that Yemeni and U.S forces had information that would lead to his location.”
Tauler denied any negotiations with al-Qaeda for Somers such as money or releasing Al-Qaeda detainees. He pointed out that these reports are just rumors circulating on some media sites and there was no communication with al-Qaeda by the United States. The U.S refuses any negotiations with any terrorist group or paying any ransom to free Somers or anyone in a similar situation.
“To combat al-Qaeda in Yemen there should be a strong Yemeni government and the training of Yemeni forces, which is the responsibility of the Yemeni government and not external forces. The only way to combat al Qaeda is a strong government with not only a strong military force, but also political and economic stability,” Tauler said.
Tauler said that the ten countries that support the Gulf Initiative are keen to support the efforts and implement all the terms of the Peace and Partnership Agreement based on the outputs of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference (NDC).
“We have welcomed the Peace and Partnership Agreement, and Yemenis have implemented a number of its terms, most important is the formation of the national government. There are still some terms that have not been implemented which is a source of concern to all of us. The continued presence of illegal checkpoints creates more political differences.”
He pointed out that the sanctions against former president Saleh and the two leaders of Ansar Allah have been approved unanimously by all members of the UN Security Council, noting that it is a message to all that the international community will not accept any practices impeding the implementation of the Gulf Initiative and NDC outputs. “It is not the right for any political party to achieve its objectives in his own way.”
Tauler revealed that a lot of economic institutions and international organizations have pulled out of Yemen because of deteriorating conditions, and some donors have doubt in the ability of some government institutions on the use of grants and aid. He said that economic activities in the Yemeni private sector declined by 40%.
“Many elements have pushed Yemen to a critical economic situation. Oil prices, the increased attacks on the oil pipelines in Marib, the control of Sana’a and many areas by the Houthis have all had a negative impact on the state’s income. Moreover, Yemen depends on its income from Sana’a Airport and Hodeida port.”
The U.S Ambassador expected significant achievements for Yemen during the next year, including the completion of the constitution drafting and elections. He expresses his optimism about a promising future for Yemen in spite of obstacles and complexities.