Yemen meeting to focus on security: UK Middle East minister

Amer Sultan from London, Saturday 30 Aug 2014

Security will top the agenda of the next Friends of Yemen meeting in New York, announces the UK government

Yemeni Shiite protesters hold a poster of the group's leader Abdul-Malik al-Hawthi, center, as they chant slogans to demand the government to step down, while attending a demonstration in Sanaa, Yemen, Friday, Aug. 29, 2014. (Photo:AP)

The next international meeting on Yemen will concentrate on setting priorities for action on security and political transition amidst growing insecurity and violence in the country.

The Friends of Yemen group will meet in New York on 24 September, Tobias Ellwood, UK Middle East minister, stated. The announcement came after the UN Security Council called for an end to violence in the north of Yemen as Houthi fighters and militants of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) fight Yemeni military and security forces.

The Friends of Yemen group was established in January 2010 by UK initiative to help bolster international political support for Yemen and assist Yemeni-led efforts to tackle the root causes of in-country instability.

The group consists of 31 foreign and regional states, including the UK, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, the United States, Russia, Kuwait and Turkey.

International organisations, including the UN, the Arab League, the European Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation and the World Bank are also part of the group.

In its British-drafted statement Friday, the UN Security Council expressed its “grave concern” at the deterioration of the security situation in Yemen in light of actions taken by the Houthis and those who support them.

Last Tuesday, Jamal Benomar, the UN envoy to Yemen, expressed his concern over “probably the most serious level of unrest in Yemen since the beginning of the political transition in 2011.”

“I look forward to the next Friends of Yemen meeting in New York where we will discuss the political transition as well as economic and security reform, and agree priorities for action in the coming months,” Ellwood said.

The UK has played a lead role in coordinating international support for Interim Yemeni President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi to implement reforms and tackle instability.

In its last meeting in London on 29 April, chaired by the Saudi Arabia, the UK and Yemen, the Friends of Yemen group established a senior-level steering committee and working groups on political transition, economic reform and development, and security and justice sector reform in Yemen.

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