News / Middle East

UN Yemen Envoy: Former President's Camp Undermining Talks

Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, briefs the Security Council in New York, Sep. 27, 2013.
Jamal Benomar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen, briefs the Security Council in New York, Sep. 27, 2013.
Reuters
— The U.N. envoy to Yemen has accused members of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's government of obstructing reconciliation talks aimed at completing a power transfer deal, and called for international support for the current administration.
    
A Saleh aide denied his camp was undermining the talks and said that the United Nations envoy, Jamal Benomar, had become a burden on the transition process.
    
The Conference of National Reconciliation, launched in March as part of a 2011 Gulf-brokered power transfer deal that eased long-serving Saleh out of office, has been struggling with demands by separatists from what was South Yemen, which merged with North Yemen in 1990.
    
A group of separatists led by Mohammed Ali Ahmed, a former interior minister, quit the talks on Wednesday, dimming prospects that the conference might deliver a new constitution in time for elections originally expected to be held in February.
    
U.N. envoy Benomar, who briefed the U.N. Security Council on the situation on Wednesday, has said interim President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, elected for a two-year period in 2012, should stay on longer if the new constitution is not ready by then.
    
He said a "well-funded, relentless and malicious media campaign" was undermining the talks by pushing the view that Hadi must either seek a new mandate or leave office in February.
    
"Some elements of the former regime believe they can turn back the clock," Benomar said in a statement issued after briefing the Security Council. The statement was received by Reuters by email on Thursday.
    
Benomar said attempts to obstruct the talks were a "persistent source of instability."


Some people close to Saleh have hinted that he may seek to return to power in a future election.
    
Saleh's secretary, Ahmed al-Sufi, said the former president's party objected to Benomar's comments.
    
"The General People's Congress rejects the use of terms like 'symbols of the old regime', because all those working in the current political landscape ... are from the old regime," Sufi told Reuters.
    
More time needed
    
Instability in Yemen, home to one of the deadliest branches of al-Qaida and which shares a long border with the world's top oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, is an international concern.
    
Apart from southern secessionist demands, Yemen is also grappling with a rebellion in the north, which flared last month into sectarian clashes between Sunni Salafis and Shi'ite Houthi rebels in which more than 100 people have died.
    
Benomar, who helped negotiate the 2011 power transfer deal, said that while Hadi was elected for a two-year interim period, his mandate was to deliver a set of democratic reforms and that more time was needed.
    
"Yemen is trying to achieve a deep, democratic transformation in months - a process that took other countries years," Benomar said.
    
"Accomplishing the substantive tasks outlined in the Transition Agreement ... obviously take precedence over rigid adherence to an indicative timeline."
    
Benomar also said the dialogue had begun to uncover the extent of discrimination suffered by people of south Yemen after the 1994 civil war, in which Saleh's forces crushed rebels seeking to break away from the union forged four years earlier.
    
Hadi's government has formally apologized over the 1994 civil war and agreed to return sacked civil servants and military officers to their old jobs. Yemen has also set up a fund to compensate those who have been sacked.
    
Benomar said a fund, launched recently with $350 million in contributions made by the Gulf Arab state of Qatar was "a timely step" in efforts to address southern grievances.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid