The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, today welcomed the strong leadership of Yemen’s President to reform his country but said more needed to be done to make sure the promise of a better future for all Yemenis can be realised.
Hosting a meeting of the Friends of Yemen in New York, bringing together 39 countries and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the Foreign Secretary gave his full backing to President Hadi and welcomed the pledging of $6.4 billion earlier this month, and an additional $1.5 billion today, to support Yemen’s future.
In his opening statement to the meeting of Friends, the Foreign Secretary set out three priorities for Yemen over the next sixth months:
- Ensuring a successful, inclusive National Dialogue to define the future of Yemen. The technical committee set up by President Hadi to define the scope of the Dialogue will report soon.
- Turning pledges into action. The $7.9bn pledged by the international community now needs to be turned into meaningful, effective action which will benefit the Yemeni people.
- Preparations for elections in 2014 which need to start now if elections are to be credible and successful, including voter registration and constitutional reform.
Speaking after the meeting, the Foreign Secretary said:
“Last year Yemen stood on the brink of civil war. The Yemeni people demanded change and a better future in common with millions across the Middle East. In only 18 months, under the careful leadership of President Hadi, Yemen has begun to lay the foundations for a successful transition, but there is much more to be done.
“I welcome the steps taken so far to restructure the military and security, the successes in tackling AQAP in the south, and the creation of a preparatory committee for National Dialogue which is due to start in November. We need to harness the commitments made here today, by Yemen and by the international community, to make sure we deliver a brighter, safer and more prosperous future for all Yemenis.
“It is vital that the pace of reform does not slip. Yemen remains in the grip of a serious humanitarian crisis, the economy needs to be rebuilt and the security threat is a cause of deep concern to all in the region. The UK Government stands firmly behind President Hadi as he continues to tackle these significant challenges. As the UN underlined in resolution 2051, continued cynical attempts to derail the peaceful transition process will not be tolerated.”
As a key ally, the UK is providing a range of support to help Yemen through the transition process. Alongside international partners, the UK is advising Yemen on how best to tackle the threat from AQAP and is providing equipment to bolster security at Sana’a airport. The UK is also funding a range of local projects to help build peace in Yemen, bring communities together and provide a voice for women in society.
To help tackle the appalling humanitarian crisis, the Department for International Development is providing £28million. This is alongside a further £196million over the next three years to alleviate human suffering, support the economy and fund social projects. The UK continues to urge other nations to pledge support for the UN Humanitarian Appeal which is only 50% funded.