What is the Friends of Yemen?
In 2011, Yemen stood on the brink of civil war and the Yemeni people were demanding change and a better future in common with millions across the Middle East. The failed plot by Yemen based Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to blow up an airliner over Detroit in December 2009 acted as a catalyst in crystallising growing concerns in the international community about Yemen’s prospects and its impact on security in the region.
The Friends of Yemen was established in January 2010 at a meeting of ministers in London to help bolster international political support for Yemen and to assist Yemeni-led efforts to tackle the underlying causes of instability.
In November 2011, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Initiative was signed. This marked the beginning of political transition in Yemen with the peaceful transfer of power from President Saleh to President Hadi.
The Friends of Yemen will support the Government of Yemen during its two year transition, up to and including elections in February 2014.
To date, four ministerial meetings of the Friends of Yemen have taken place: 24 January 2010 (London), 24 September 2010 (New York), 23 May 2012 (Riyadh) and 27 September 2012 (New York).
What are you hoping to achieve in London?
The security, economic and humanitarian situation in Yemen remains fragile. It is important that political transition continues to make progress. There are three key priorities for the London Friends of Yemen meeting on 7 March:
Progress on the National Dialogue Conference – which is due to start on 18 March.
Preparations for Presidential and Parliamentary elections in 2014.
Turning $7.8bn pledged by the Friends of Yemen into action.
Who are the Friends of Yemen?
The Friends of Yemen is co-chaired by the United Kingdom, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of Yemen.
There are 39 countries and international organisations in the Friends of Yemen:
Countries: Algeria, Japan, Turkey, Australia, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Bahrain, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, Brazil, State of Kuwait, United States of America, People’s Republic of China, Malaysia, Republic of Yemen, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Denmark, Sultanate of Oman, Egypt, State of Qatar, France, Russian Federation, Germany, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, Spain, Indonesia, Switzerland, Italy, Tunisia.
International organisations: League of Arab States, Delegation of the European Union, Gulf Cooperation Council Secretariat, Islamic Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, World Bank, United Nations.
UK’s Leading Role
The UK, through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Department for International Development, is playing a leading role in Yemen. As co-chair of the Friends of Yemen and member of the UN Security Council, G8 and International Financial Institutions (IFIs), we continue to keep Yemen high on the international agenda.
In Yemen we are members of G10 diplomatic group (Permanent 5 of the UNSC, the GCC and the EU Delegation). Our Embassy in Sana’a works closely to help and advise the Yemeni Government. They are helping to ensure rapid and effective disbursement of donor funds and effective implementation of reforms to improve governance, unify the military, strengthen security and justice and promote strong economic growth.
What does the Friends of Yemen do?
The purpose of the Friends of Yemen is to support the Government of Yemen’s plans to address the broad range of challenges facing Yemen. There is a specific focus on supporting and monitoring progress on political, economic and security reform during the second phase of political transition in Yemen, up to and including the full Presidential and Parliamentary elections due to take place in February 2014.
The Friends of Yemen is a political meeting of Foreign Ministers, though the humanitarian crisis and aid delivery is discussed. The UK delegation is led by the Foreign Secretary, with participation from the FCO Minister for the Middle East and North Africa, Alistair Burt, and DfiD Minister for International Development, Alan Duncan.
Friends of Yemen meeting 7 March 2013
UK priorities in Yemen
Financial support for Yemen