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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs