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MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) - 30/04/2014
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(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Friends of Yemen urged the government in Sanaa to set out a clear timetable for a referendum on a constitution and subsequent elections in order to end the political, economic and security crises affecting the country.

"The Friends of Yemen reiterate that the only way to a united, peaceful, stable and prosperous Yemen is through the implementation of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) Initiative," the group of 39 nations and organisations, meeting in London on Tuesday, said in their final communique.

They also stressed "the importance of communicating to the Yemeni people the outcomes of the NDC (National Dialogue Conference), the work of the Constitution Drafting Committee, and subsequent steps in the transition." The document welcomed "the confidence-building measures taken, in particular the steps to implement the 20 points recommended by the NDC's preparatory technical committee and the 11 points approved by the NDC on southern and Sa'ada issues." They welcomed UN Security Council resolution 2140 of February 26, which established a Sanctions Committee and Panel of Experts with a view to applying measures against individuals or entities engaged in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen.

These acts were identified, in particular, as "obstructing or undermining the successful completion of political transition or impeding the implementation of the outcomes of the final report of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference through violence, planning, directing, or committing acts that violate applicable international human rights law or international humanitarian law." The NDC's recommendation to pass a law on transitional justice and establish a commission to investigate the alleged human rights violations in 2011 was welcomed.

Work that has begun to establish an independent National Human Rights Institution was also welcomed, however, the document added that, "for Yemen's human rights situation to improve, the government should work without delay to enshrine the NDC's recommendations into the new constitution and enforce them by law." On the economic scale, the Friends of Yemen noted the continuing need for economic and governance reform, including tackling corruption, investment in infrastructure, and increased provision of basic services to set Yemen on the path tostability and self-sufficiency.

They encouraged the Government of Yemen to swiftly identify a timetable for economic reform, take decisions on critical areas of reform to increase the pace of pledge disbursement and signal a commitment to meaningful reform, chiefly by tackling fuel subsidies to alleviate the looming fiscal crisis and prioritise resources towards those who need them.

They also called on the Yemeni government to increase economic stability by continuing negotiations to secure an IMF programme.

On addressing Yemen's manpower and unemployment issues, "this should take the form of job creation, training of Yemeni labour, and encouraging foreign direct investment to create employment opportunities inside Yemen," added the document.

Speaking of humanitarian challenges, the document read that, "in spite of the progress made during the political transition the overall humanitarian challenges remain largely unchanged 14.7 million people are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance.

It added, that some "10.5 million people are food insecure, 8.6 million people have insufficient access to health services, more than one million children are suffering from acute malnutrition and 13 million people still lack access to clean water and sanitation."

The group of nations condemned the deadly terrorist attacks in Yemen, and confirmed their commitment to the government's drive to establish and implement counter-terrorism legislation and continue efforts to combat terrorism, smuggling and piracy.

The document denounced all forms of violence and armed confrontations and called on political parties to refrain from any acts undermining, or contradictory to, the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions.

The foreign ministers agreed to establish a Steering Committee and Working Groups in each of the three areas. The Groups will report back to the Steering Committee which will report to the annual Friends of Yemen meetings to be held at Foreign Minister Level in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York each September.

The Friends of Yemen Group was formed in 2010 to find appropriate solutions to the impoverished situation of the southeastern Arab country before and after the year-long popular revolution that removed former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.


Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)

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