The United Nations Security Council welcomed the peaceful transfer of power in Yemen last week from President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi to a newly established Presidential Leadership Council (PLC).
The PLC consists of a diverse range of political representatives of the divided and fractured Yemeni society. The new Yemeni political body has expressed the intention to establish a negotiating team for peace talks under the auspices of the United Nations.
The UN Security Council also praised the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for its contributions to the stabilization of the political situation in war-torn Yemen. The GCC is a political body consisting of Arab Gulf states such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar.
The protracted conflict between the Iranian-backed Houthi militia and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government has already claimed thousands of lives and pushed millions of Yemeni civilians into deep poverty.
The UN succeeded in brokering a truce in Yemen in early April ahead of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. The fragile truce was nevertheless reportedly violated after merely a few hours, according to one report. However, tensions have been reduced and at the time of this writing, the truce appears to be holding.
Hans Grundberg, the UN’s Special Representative for Yemen, who recently visited the Yemeni capital of Saana, expressed optimism.
“There is light at the end of the tunnel” due to the agreement on the two-month renewable truce,” Grundberg said. “We have seen a significant overall reduction in hostilities and no confirmed reports of airstrikes or cross-border attacks.”
Maintaining the truce in Yemen is essential for bringing in crucial supplies to the war-torn country.
“We have also seen badly needed fuel ships coming into the ports of Hodeidah, which I hope will contribute to resolving the fuel crisis you have been experiencing here in Sanaa. A steady flow of ships should be entering Hodeidah throughout the duration of the truce,” Grundberg said.
Looking ahead, the UN Special Representative for Yemen stressed the need for negotiations based on good faith.
“Dialogue in good faith with each other is key and the parties need to make use of the United Nations-facilitated mechanisms we provided to support them in that regard,” Grundberg concluded.
The establishment of the diverse PLC body could potentially change the political dynamic in Yemen by removing the conflict between the Houthis and the former Yemeni government from the agenda.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates pledged last week to provide $3 billion in assistance to the cash-strapped Central Bank of Yemen. In addition, the Saudi government also agreed to earmark $300 million for funding the United Nation’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen.
Ned Price, the U.S. State Department’s spokesperson, welcomed the Saudi and Emirati financial assistance to Yemen.
“The United States welcomes the pledge by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to provide $2 billion in economic support for the Central Bank of Yemen, as well as the pledge by Saudi Arabia to provide $1 billion for development projects and fuel support,” Price said. “This economic support will help stabilize the economy, improve Yemenis’ access to basic services, and ease the economic crisis that causes so much suffering. The United States looks forward to working with regional, international, and private sector partners to strengthen the Yemeni economy.”
While the Saudi-Emirati $3 billion assistance is significant, the United Nations recently estimated that some $4.3 billion was urgently needed to properly assist millions of Yemenis across the country. Some 23 million Yemenis reportedly face hunger and life-threatening diseases.