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.

 

Egypt state prosecutor dead after Cairo bomb attack

Islamic State 'caliphate' enters second year with more bloodshed

Turkey holds top security meet

Tunisia to arm tourist police after Sousse attack

Qatar concedes 'much more needs to be done' on labour law

Britons death toll in Tunisia attack to soar to 'around 30'

US official says method found for access to suspect Iran sites

Israel to Syria rebels: 'Don't mess with the Druze'

Iranians anxious as talks stumble

'Unprecedented situation' for Sudan's journalists

Egypt's state prosecutor injured in bomb attack

UAE woman sentenced to death for killing US teacher

Israel escorts flotilla defying Gaza blockade

Repatriation of two Tunisians once held by CIA

Key confidante of Syria president dies of illness

Libya rival factions sit at same table for first time

Students may have left Sudan for ‘Islamic State’

Tense nuclear talks set to go beyond deadline as differences remain

Kuwait names Saudi man as suicide bomber in mosque attack

Armed police swarm streets of Tunisia beach resorts

Turkey wants more walls on border with Syria

Tunisia unites in pain and shock as hope slips away

Abadi: ‘Unauthorised’ withdrawal of Iraq forces led to loss of Ramadi

Negotiators ‘need to work really hard’ as nuclear talks begin

Iraq arrests Saddam-era official following arduous operation

Syria Kurds take full control of Kobane after killing spree by jihadists

Kuwait tightens security after mosque attack

Thousands of scared tourists scramble to leave Tunisia

Qatar’s Advisory Council rejects labour reform

Tunisia seaside massacre deals heavy blow to tourism

Kuwait to hold mass funeral for IS attack victims

37 dead in Tunisia beach attack

Essebsi: Tunisia cannot respond alone to jihadist threat

Israel urges French Jews to flee after factory attack

Saudi pursuing own nuclear projects to counter Iran

Islamic State claim Shiite mosque bombing in Kuwait

Somali Shebab overrun African Union base

Vatican under fire from Israel

Palestinians submit Israeli war crimes files to ICC

Islamic State massacre civilians in Syria’s Kobane

One decapitated, several injured in France terrorist attack

Egypt, US to hold 'strategic dialogue' in July amid warming ties

Libya rivals return to Morocco for new peace talks

Eritrean asylum seekers protest in Israel

Palermo mayor: Migrant crisis in Med tantamount to 'genocide'