May 4, 2012
A United Nations mediator facilitated the peaceful transfer of command of a key military brigade from a relative of the country’s former President to an official appointed by his elected successor, Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, as part of the country’s ongoing transition process.
“I witnessed the handing over of the command of the Third Brigade from Colonel Tarek Mohammed Abdullah Saleh to Colonel Abdulrahman al-Halili,” the UN Special Adviser on Yemen Jamal Benomar told reporters last night in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital.
“This event has taken place in line with President Hadi’s recent decision and I am confident that the President will continue to lead the country to a successful transition,” Mr. Benomar said.
Last year, a popular uprising erupted in Yemen, similar to the protests in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In November, warring factions in the country signed an agreement on a transitional settlement under which Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to hand over power to Mr. Mansour Hadi, the Vice President at the time, who was elected to the Presidency in February.
In March, the Security Council called on Yemen to remain committed to its transition process and noted that the country had entered a second phase of transition which should focus, among other things, on restructuring its security forces and establishing an inclusive national dialogue.
Yesterday’s transfer follows the handover of the air force command on 24 April, which was also facilitated by Mr. Benomar. “The time has come for Yemenis to concentrate on ending divisions within the army and to focus on preparations for the national dialogue process” he said.
Mr. Benomar and his team have been in Yemen for the past two weeks, supporting Yemeni-led efforts on the country’s transition process.