As Yemenis embark on a path of change for their country, the United States of America today underline dits commitment to support Yemen as it pursues political transition.
In his remarks in Democratic Intervention in the Friends of Yemen Ministerial at Washington DC, Deputy Secretary William J. Burns Deputy emphasizes once again the United States’ strong commitment to working with Yemeni President Hadi, the people of Yemen, and the international community, to facilitate the historic transition.
Mr. Burns commends President Hadi for his determined leadership which has enabled Yemen to remain faithful to the process and milestones described in the Gulf Cooperation Council-led political transition initiative.
“The international community must move quickly to assist Yemenis as they both pursue their political transition, and seek to meet the country’s urgent humanitarian and development needs.” -Mr. Burns
He also commends the international community’s efforts to support Yemen’s transition and urges the Friends of Yemen to continue supporting pressing humanitarian needs through fully accountable channels, such as the UN’s Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, which remains less than 50 percent funded.
The US government also continues to support exploration of options for a trust fund to support the Government of Yemen’s capacity building efforts.
Mr. Burns announces that the United States is on track to more than double assistance to Yemen this fiscal year, providing over $346 million.
The US government also seeks to support the Yemeni people by delivering humanitarian aid and economic assistance, supporting good governance, and encouraging expanded political participation for all, especially women, youth, and Yemenis of all backgrounds.
“Let me be clear: Our relationship with Yemen is about much more than security and counterterrorism.” -Mr. Burns
There can be no lasting stability and no freedom from extremism in Yemen without political reform and economic progress, he underlined.
In addition, Mr. Burns stresses that international support can help to alleviate immediate humanitarian and economic crises, but for Yemen’s transition to be successful, Yemenis must pursue the National Dialogue and develop viable government institutions.
“We will work with you on this effort.” -Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns notes the US government will partner with the Yemeni Government, prvate sector, and civil society to promote long-term, sustainable development prospects, develop economic activity and reform, and strengthen both domestic and foreign direct investment opportunities in Yemen.
He adds that the US government will support the creation of active programs to improve Yemeni job skills, to ensure that Yemen’s workforce is prepared to compete and succeed in today’s global economy and empower the people of Yemen to take their future into their own hands.
“We look forward to working closely with you, President Hadi, as well as the Yemeni people, and the international community to build a secure, peaceful, and prosperous Yemen.” -Mr. Burns
In addition, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today also congratulated Yemen for the progress it has made in its democratic transition.
Mr. Ban calls on the international community to support the Middle Eastern nation so it can ‘protect its fragile gains’ and address its humanitarian needs.
Reports say Yemen has been undergoing a democratic transition, under the leadership of President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, who came to power in an election in February this year.
In August this year, Yemen’s president Abdo Rabo Mansour Hadi has recently ordered the restructuring of military units and security institutions by issuing decrees transferring the command of former security units to a newly formed force called the “Presidential Protective Forces under his authority.”
Reports say the move aims to stabilise the security situation of the country where former leader Ali Abdullah Saleh’s legacy still looms large.
Yemen has reportedly experienced a significant transformation over the past year and these decrees are a tangible illustration of the positive steps that Yemen is taking along their path to democracy.
Earlier this year, the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP)reported that Yemen is in the midst of an “increasingly complex, full-fledged humanitarian crisis.
It is estimated that the recent political turmoil in Yemen last year, part of a wave of protests across the Middle East and North Africa calling for social, economic and democratic reforms, has led to more than 82 deaths and hundreds of injuries.
To address the humanitarian needs of the Yemenis, the World Food Programm set to scale up its assistance in response to the growing needs in Yemen.
WFP is preparing to feed 3.5 million vulnerable people in Yemen in 2012. This includes people who have been pushed into hunger in the wake of sharp hikes in food prices and displacement in the northern and the southern regions of the country.
The agency is especially prioritizing 1.8 million severely food insecure Yemenis living in the poorest 14 governorates. The estimated total cost of the food assistance is $207 million.
WFP’s efforts in the country have received a boost with a $31 million contribution from Germany, during what the agency’s representative there, Lubna Alaman, described as an “increasingly dire” situation.
The uprising in Yemen is part of a wider pro-democracy movement across the region, dubbed the “Arab Spring,” that began at the start of this year and has already toppled long-standing regimes in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.