The United Nations has been supporting Yemen for 60 years. Since 2011, the United Nations has been facilitating Yemen’s political transition, at a moment when the country was on the brink of civil war: fighting had killed and wounded hundreds. Yemenis rallied in squares, demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down.
Working closely with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and government, key political groupings and civil society, a process for peaceful dialogue was established under the auspices of the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism. The agreement included commitment to inclusive participation, including for women and youth, in the political process.
Under the framework of the agreement there was provision for the non-competitive election for a new President. This took place on 21 February 2012 and power was peacefully transferred to the then Vice-President Abed Rabbuh Mansour Hadi in a largely peaceful environment with high voter participation. A National Unity Government was formed and this was followed by six-months of preparations for a Comprehensive National Dialogue.
A promising Outcome Document was adopted with an agreement on a set of principles for a new Yemen and setting the foundations for a new state on the basis of federalism and democracy, pursuant to the principles of rule of law and equal citizenship. Despite Yemen being among the most conservative countries in the region, the Outcome Document called for 30 per cent representation for women at all levels of government.
The outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference remain an important point of consensus in Yemen’s political life. A Constitution Drafting Commission was formed in March 2014 and worked intensively on a draft constitution until January 2015. Many elements of this draft constitution and recommendations from the Committee should remain useful for the development of a new Yemeni Constitution in the future. The National Dialogue built on Yemen’s proud tradition that has always allowed people regardless of class, regional, or political grouping to talk to each with ease, and strengthened the voice of women, youth and civil society in decisions about the future of the Yemeni state.
On the sidelines of the Sweden Consultations, the Yemeni Women’s Technical Advisory Group held meetings with the two parties as well as members of the diplomatic community and the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Ms. Margot Wallström.
The Technical Advisory Group discussed possible ways of bringing the voices of Yemeni women to the peace-making process. The Group has also engaged in presenting strategy papers and proposals that guide the Special Envoy in his mediation role to bring the war to an end.
Sweden, 11 December 2018 - The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, held a press conference on the fifth day of the political consultations between the Yemeni parties. Griffiths reported progress on a number of issues, highlighting that the two parties have been discussing the details of re-opening Sanaa airport, the de-escalation measures in both Tae’z and Hudayda, and the implementation of the exchange of prisoners’ agreement, as well as the economic situation.
The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, commends the positive spirit the two parties are demonstrating in the Sweden Consultations.
“The two parties are engaged in a serious and constructive way in discussing the details of confidence building measures, the reduction of violence, and the framework for negotiations. We hope we will achieve progress during this round of consultations”.
Representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthi movement are sitting down to talk in Sweden and offering us hope for restarting the peace process in their country.
By Martin Griffiths
Dec. 6, 2018 - The people of Yemen have had enough. More than three years of war have killed thousands, displaced more than 500,000, created the worst cholera epidemic and brought about 14 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation.
Sweden, 6 December 2018 -
Thank you very much. Thank you very much indeed. And thank you through Your Excellency and the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallstrom, thank you to your government, for your hosting, for your welcome, as you say a very warm welcome in a slightly less warm country, and so thank you for having us here in this remarkable location. I’m very grateful to you for doing this, to want to, and this efforts to make this happen. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.