International meeting in NY to discuss Yemen crisis

Aharm Online in London, Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Friends of Yemen Group meets in New York to discuss an international response to the current Yemeni crisis

Shi'ite Houthi rebels patrol a street in Sanaa September 23, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

New York hosts an international meeting on Wednesday to discuss a response to the escalating crisis in Yemen.

The Friend of Yemen meeting, chaired by UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and his Saudi and Yemeni counterparts, Saud Al-Faisal and Jamal Al-Sallal, will be attended by 39 countries and international and regional organisations.

“Given the intense fighting in Sanaa in recent days this meeting is more important than ever,” the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said in a statement.

The Friends of Yemen ministerial group was established in 2010 to co-ordinate international and regional support for Yemen.

Yemen has remained unstable since a popular uprising in 2011 forced president Ali Abdallah Saleh from power.

The Houthis and the Yemeni government on Sunday signed a deal brokered by the United Nations to end fighting.

It is reported more than 200 were killed in the last round of deadly clashes.

According to the deal, a new government will be formed and the Houthis and southern separatists will nominate a new prime minister.

Earlier, Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi denounced the takeover of Sanaa by Houthis and their supporters as a conspiracy that could lead to civil war.

The New York meeting “will provide an opportunity for the international community to respond to current events and to call for an end to violence and the full implementation of the peace agreement,” the FCO statement said.

It is understood that Gamal Benomar, the UN envoy to Yemen, will attend the FOY meeting, which will be the first since the Friends group was restructured during the London meeting in April to provide more targeted support to the multiple challenges Yemen faces.

During the meeting, the FOY Steering Committee will report on progress made by the Political, Economic and Security Working Groups, the Constitutional Drafting Committee and the National Authority for Monitoring the Implementation of the National Dialogue Outcomes, and on election preparations.

Representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the UN will brief the participants on the progress of the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Plan, and the current political and humanitarian situation in Yemen.

As part of the road to improved stability and security, Yemen has committed to implementing National Dialogue Conference recommendations including drafting a new constitution, preparing for a constitutional referendum, and elections in 2015.

The British minister for the Middle East, Tobias Ellwood, and the UK government special envoy to Yemen, Sir Alan Duncan, will be part of the UK delegation in New York meeting.

Yemen is the poorest nation in Middle East and faces huge development challenges.

The UK has pledged to continue to work with their partners in the region, particularly Gulf donors, to ensure coordinated international community support to tackle Yemen’s short and long-term development challenges.

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