Today in Riyadh, the Friends of Yemen group reenergised its political engagement and commitment to supporting President Hadi and his government to implement change. They welcomed recent achievements, in particular the peaceful transfer of power and the successful completion of the first phase of transition, but also noted the significant obstacles to further progress and the need to address all the root causes of instability in Yemen.
The group welcomed the Yemeni government’s update on its transition plans and discussed ways to ensure the effective implementation of further reform. They particularly highlighted:
- progress on a national dialogue and the Yemeni commitment to conclude the process by March 2013;
- work to re-establish trust through a law on justice and reconciliation;
- and plans for security sector reform.
The Friends also emphasised Yemen’s deepening humanitarian crisis which requires determined action. They welcomed the announcement of $4 billion in aid agreed at the meeting.
Speaking after the meeting Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt said:
“Today was a critical moment for Yemen. 38 countries and international organisations came together in a show of support for the challenges that it faces and defiance at the threat posed by terrorism.
“The UK government is committed to driving international efforts to provide assistance for Yemen’s plans to tackle all forms of instability and help it build on the important, but fragile progress it has made on political transition.
“What happens next matters to millions of Yemenis, but also has wider implications for the security and prosperity of the entire region and wider world. We must therefore all act together and without delay. Today’s meeting shows that the international community is right behind Yemen as it looks to get back on its feet. Britain’s national security is bound up in Yemen’s national security as demonstrated by the recently thwarted attempt at a terrorist air attack.”
Minister for International Development Alan Duncan added:
“Yemen’s deepening humanitarian crisis requires determined and concerted action. Immediately before the Friends of Yemen meeting, we announced additional funding to help at least quarter of a million people in need in Yemen, including emergency food support, shelter and clean water.
“We continue to urge the wider international community to step up and match the UK’s efforts - both in responding to the immediate needs this humanitarian crisis creates and in delivering the longer term development support the country needs to build a more prosperous, stable future.”
The Friends of Yemen is a forum for political support, but there was broad recognition that financial support, as well as technical assistance and guidance, was important for the rebuilding of Yemen. The group announced a meeting of donors at the end of June in Riyadh, and said progress would be assessed at the next meeting of the Friends in September in New York.