First Published: 2013-01-27

 

Top UN team in Yemen to push national reconciliation

 

Security Council delegation holds talks with President Hadi as thousands take to streets, demanding end to immunity given to former president Saleh.

 

Middle East Online

By Hammoud Mounassar – SANAA

Urgent call for dialogue

A UN Security Council delegation on Sunday began a brief visit to Yemen in a clear boost to President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi aimed at helping to iron out problems hampering national reconciliation talks.

Thousands, meanwhile, took to the streets on the occasion of the visit, demanding an end to the immunity given to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was eased out of office in February 2102 after three decades of rule following a UN-backed and Gulf-brokered deal.

The Security Council delegation, which includes the head and members of the top body, held talks with Hadi, state television said, adding that the team later went on to meet members of the government.

It termed the visit as "international support for Yemen to push political reconciliation as per the Gulf initiative" which ended Saleh's rule and nearly a year of bloodshed.

The trip comes as Sanaa struggles to organise a national dialogue conference that would result in a new constitution and presidential and parliamentary elections in February 2014, thereby ending the current two-year transition period.

The conference, originally set for mid-November, has been repeatedly delayed as some factions of the Southern Movement, which has campaigned for autonomy or secession for the formerly independent south, have refused to join the talks.

After North and South Yemen unified, in 1994, a short-lived secession bid was crushed by Sanaa troops and since then the citizens of the south have complained of discrimination.

The United Nations special envoy Jamal Benomar said the team's visit "reflects the UN Security Council's interest in pushing the reconciliation and removing obstacles that are hindering the implementation of the points of the Gulf initiative."

He told state television that the "process is difficult," and urged all Yemeni parties to "realise that there is a historic opportunity and join the national dialogue without preconditions to solve all Yemeni issues, including the question of the south."

On Sunday, demonstrators poured into the streets of Sanaa amid tight security calling to bring Saleh to justice and to "return the funds stolen by the former president and his family," a correspondent reported.

The Youth of the Revolution, a group that was the main engine of the year-long protests, also called for an international probe into violations and crimes committed by Saleh's regime.

It urged the UN Security Council to "freeze the funds owned by the leaders of the former regime and return them to public treasury."

"The people want to put the killer on trial," chanted the protesters, referring to Saleh who is also accused of hampering the political transition.

The transition deal also stipulates restructuring the army and integrating military and security forces under a single command, a task that remains difficult with Saleh's sons and relatives still occupying senior security posts.

The United Nations made an urgent call in December for Yemeni political parties to begin the dialogue, warning that the transition was under threat.

 

Turkish MPs back controversial bill bolstering Erdogan powers

Egypt court voids deal to transfer islands to Saudi Arabia

10 Guantanamo prisoners arrive in Oman

Trump criticises ‘obsolete’ NATO

French summit tries to revive Middle East peace

CIA chief warns Trump to watch his words

Heavy snow traps 1,000 motorists in Tunisia

Burundi begins withdrawal of AMISOM troops

Saudi doubts need for oil output cap extension

Saudi budget airline signs deal for 80 Airbus planes

Palestinians can’t stop US embassy move says Israeli minister

Turkey’s unemployment rate highest since 2010

Syria rebels say will attend Astana negotiations

Hamas to release those arrested over electricity protests

Iranian corruption fugitive caught after international manhunt

In Morocco, reforms stalled with no government formed

Qatar Emir pledges $12m to solve Gaza's electricity crisis

Bahrain building torched in ongoing protests over executions

Clashes near Damascus after negotiator's killing

Iran says US 'hostility' growing despite nuclear deal

Spanish King in Saudi as warship sale mooted

Fighter jet shot down over Libya's Benghazi

Jordan interior, foreign ministers unseated in reshuffle

IS gain ground in oil-rich Syria province

Israel fires on Hamas post in Gaza

Bahrain executes three Shiites over police killings

Over 30 dead as IS attacks city in east Syria

Abbas opens Vatican mission, warns over US embassy move

26 killed as Yemeni forces push rebels back

Civilians killed in Syria air strikes

Turkey suspends pro-Kurdish lawmaker for 'genocide' comment

Saudi Arabia cleric warns of cultural 'depravity'

Russia bypasses Obama, invites Trump to Syria talks

Turkey arrests two over nightclub massacre

Obama eases Sudan sanctions

Palestinians turn to Putin for help against US embassy move

Erdogan says Turks, Greeks remain at odds on Cyprus problem

Israel fears more UN action after Paris conference

Turkey says Russia accord will prevent Syria clashes

Workers enter rebel area to restore Damascus water

Istanbul building collapses killing two

Morocco king to travel to Ethiopia for AU summit

Burqa ban splits Morocco

Paris conference to push for peace with wary eye on Trump

Russia declines to confirm US invitation to Syria talks