Wednesday, November 23, 2011
According to a United Nations press release today, Yemen’s warring factions have agreed to a political transition settlement. Jamal Benomar, the top United Nations envoy to Yemen, called the deal “an important milestone towards restoring peace and stability, maintaining national unity and territorial integrity, and laying the foundation for economic recovery.” The pact was formally signed in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The UN press release indicates that under the agreement, President Ali Abdullah Saleh will hand over his powers to Vice-President Abed Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi and presidential elections will be staged within 90 days. Over the next two years, a government of national unity will establish a national dialogue to ensure that a broad section of society takes part in determining Yemen’s future, with a constitutional review to follow. It is anticipated that new political actors will be able to form political parties and compete in elections held at the end of the two-year transition process.
With respect to involvement of the youth movement, Mr. Benomar stated that "the parties have agreed to engage immediately with the youth movements in the squares to seek their support for and active participation in the transition process.”
Today’s agreement follows months of deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of Mr. Saleh and his regime, part of the so-called Arab Spring movement that has swept the Middle East and North Africa this year.
Mr. Benomar stressed that the agreement’s success depended on its full implementation, and he urged all sides to honour their commitments to immediately cease all violent acts and refrain from further provocations.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters he was encouraged by the agreement and pledged the UN’s assistance to ensure the pact is fully implemented. “I will do my best to mobilize the necessary resources and support so that peace and stability and democratic order will be restored in Yemen,” he said.