December 19, 2011
Yemen’s new Government has taken steps to restore peace and stability in the country, the United Nations special envoy for the country said today, explaining that the new measures include instructions that roadblocks be removed, soldiers return to their barracks and militias go back to their villages.
Warring factions in Yemen on 23 November reached agreement on a transitional settlement under which President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to hand over power to Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi. A new Government of National Unity was sworn in on Sunday and presidential elections have been scheduled for 21 February.
“Serious commitment from all sides will be required to make these inroads to stability a success and the UN will continue its close engagement and monitor its progress,” said Jamal Benomar, the Secretary General's Special Adviser for Yemen on a visit to the country, his seventh this year in that capacity.
“We want to see a Yemen where the streets belong to the people, not the militia. We want to see Yemenis able to go about their daily lives and grow their communities – where civic leaders are the ones shaping the future of the country, not those with arms,” he said in a statement, noting that he had consulted with a broad array of political leaders, and for the first time travelled outside the capital, Sana’a.
He travelled to the south-western cities of Taiz and Aden and Sa’ada in the north-west to gain first-hand impressions of the spectrum of Yemen’s challenges and how they are interlinked.
“The situation in Yemen remains highly fragile and the political agreement will be impossible to implement without the continuous commitment and cooperation of political and other leaders throughout the country,” said Mr. Benomar.
“The international community has pressed hard for the sides to reach a political settlement and these calls have been heeded. Now, donors have to back up their calls for reform by providing the support that is needed to implement the agreement and see the country through this transition period.
“Only with their immediate assistance and commitment can the building blocks of the peace process maintain a strong foundation,” he added.