Wednesday,20 March, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1123, 22-28 November 2012-
Wednesday,20 March, 2019
Issue 1123, 22-28 November 2012-

Ahram Weekly

Decorations for Yemen transition supporters

The UN secretary-general and his envoy to Yemen came to
celebrate the first anniversary of the Yemeni accord, reports Nasser Arrabyee in Sanaa

Al-Ahram Weekly

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was honoured with the state’s highest decoration in his first ever visit to Yemen. In his 10-hour visit to the troubled country, Ban attended a celebration of the first anniversary of signing the deal that rescued Yemen from civil war. The top UN official was seen as brave enough to travel to a country where political assassinations remain one of the common techniques of negotiations between the conflicting parties.
Although security measures were exceptionally tight in the Yemeni capital Sanaa before and during the arrival and departure of Ban, a military helicopter took him from (and to) the Sanaa airport to the presidential house where he met President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and other officials and diplomats. Almost all streets around the presidential house at the southern part of the city were closed, causing additional heavy traffic in the other streets.
A year ago, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his opponents who were behind the uprising signed the deal that was called the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative (GCCI), which was sponsored by Saudi Arabia and backed mainly by United States. The UN Security Council issued two resolutions to support the deal after the special envoy of Ban, Jamal Bin Omar, exerted efforts to make the conflicting parties sign it.
Now, only one year is left for President Hadi to finish his transitional period successfully as planned by the GCCI.
Despite political and economic difficulties, Hadi seemed to be confident about moving forward, relying on external support. “The GCC Initiative is not like any previous deal. It is guaranteed by two UN resolutions,” said President Hadi referring to UNSC resolutions 2014 and 2051 to support the transition in Yemen.
Spoilers from both sides interfere with the implementation of the deal, especially the most important two steps to be taken from now on: the holding of national dialogue and the unifying and restructuring of the army.
President Hadi threatened to punish spoilers, without saying who are they and how they are going to be punished. “The Yemeni people would punish the spoilers before the UN or anyone from outside,” he said.
President Hadi said clearly that there was no victorious and defeated party when the deal was signed in the Saudi capital Riyadh last year. “Both the constitutional and revolutionary forces made concessions and produced the GCCI,” said Hadi. President Saleh and his supporters were sticking to what they called constitutional legitimacy, and Saleh’s opponents and their supporters were talking about revolutionary legitimacy.
President Hadi awarded Ban the Republic medal, and Bin Omar and Abdel-Latif Al-Zayani, the GCC secretary-general, the Unity medal.
Ban said that progress so far in the implementation of the transitional deal is good, praising the leadership of Hadi. “There is no turning back, and the difficult legacy of the past will be solved by understanding and reconciliation, and by the wise, strong and successful leadership of President Hadi,” said Ban.
However, his envoy, Bin Omar, said that Yemeni politicians and youth deserve the decoration more than him, warning that dangers are still facing the settlement. “The Yemeni leaders and the youth deserve the honour of decoration more than me,” said Bin Omar. “The transition is still fragile and dangers are still big,” he warned.
Al-Zayani was very optimistic about the steps taken so far and the coming steps. “Today, I see Yemen is better than it was, and tomorrow it will be even better. I see hope in the street, with officials and with every one,” said Al-Zayani.
Before the celebration, Ban met with the most important two committees, the military committee assigned with unifying and restructuring the army and security forces, and the technical committee for preparing for national dialogue.
US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein along with the six Gulf and three European ambassadors (known as the ambassadors of the 10 sponsor countries of the GCCI) attended the meetings with the UN secretary-general.
In the meeting with the technical committee for preparing for the national dialogue, Al-Houthi representative Mohamed Al-Bukhaiti walked out of the meeting in protest over the presence of the American ambassador.
“We can not accept the participation of the US ambassador, whose country is responsible for the deaths of women and children in Gaza,” said Al-Houthi representative Mohamed Al-Bukhaiti as he walked out of the meeting.
All signatories of the GCCI attended the celebration of the first anniversary of the signing, except for the former president Saleh. “The celebration would have been better if all the signatories attended,” said Tarek Saleh, nephew and former commander of the special guards of Saleh, in an obvious reference to his uncle.
President Hadi was supposed to announce a date for starting the national dialogue, but he did not do that because the preparations were not completed. President Hadi said in a press conference after the celebration that 95 per cent of the preparations of the national dialogue were already complete and that more weeks are needed for finalising everything.

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