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Sunday, March 22, 2015

U.S. STATEMENT ON SITUATION IN YEMEN

FROM:  U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT
Samantha Power
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
New York, NY
March 22, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The UN Security Council met today to discuss how we can support the resumption of a peaceful, inclusive, and consensus-driven political transition under the leadership of the legitimate President of Yemen, Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi. All parties must re-commit to a transition through peaceful participation in talks mediated by UN Special Advisor Jamal Benomar. On March 21, President Hadi called for dialogue on the basis of the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and National Dialogue outcomes, and we urge all Yemenis to heed this call to prevent further violence and destabilization.

Unfortunately, the Houthis’ actions – taken in close collaboration with former President Ali Abdullah Salih – have consistently undermined Yemen’s transition. In recent days, forces loyal to the Houthis and Salih carried out airstrikes against the Presidential Palace in Aden – attacking the government’s democratically elected leader. Earlier today, Houthi forces launched destabilizing attacks on the city of Taiz. These attacks are but the latest in a series of violent actions perpetrated by the Houthis since they chose to overrun Sana’a, take over government institutions, and attempt to govern by unilateral decree. To preserve Yemen’s security, stability, and unity, all parties must refrain from any further unilateral and offensive military actions.

The human costs of instability in Yemen grow every day. On Friday March 20, we were shocked and outraged by the horrific terrorist attacks on mosques in Sana’a and Saada that killed more than 130 and injured hundreds more. The United States reiterates again our condemnation of these attacks, which were cowardly attempts to divide the Yemeni people.

And it is the Yemeni people who will continue to feel the consequences if all parties do not immediately cease military actions and return to Yemen’s political transition. Nearly 16 million people – 61 percent of the population in Yemen – are in grave need of humanitarian assistance.

Today, the Security Council spoke with one voice, reaffirming its support for President Hadi as Yemen’s legitimate president, deploring the Houthis’ failure to withdraw their forces from government institutions, and reiterating the Security Council's condemnation of Houthi unilateral actions that undermine the political transition process.

Yemen’s crisis can still be solved peacefully through the full implementation of the GCC Initiative and National Dialogue outcomes, which provide for a Yemeni-led democratic transition. All Yemenis have a right to peacefully participate in the process of determining Yemen’s future. Having worked bravely and tirelessly to bring about a political transition, the Yemeni people should see this process resume with meaningful public timelines for finishing a new Yemeni constitution, holding a referendum on this constitution, and launching national elections.

The United States remains firmly committed to supporting all of Yemen’s diverse communities in this endeavor. Since the Yemeni people took to the streets to demand change in 2011, Yemen’s transition has succeeded when its communities have come together to support a transition by consensus, as opposed to by unilateral decree. We remain firmly convinced that the peaceful future Yemenis deserve will only come through a return to an inclusive transition led by President Hadi with the full support of all Yemenis.