23 May 201216:12

The Speech of Special Representative of the Russian President for the Middle East, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia M. L. Bogdanov at the Ministerial Session of the “Friends of Yemen Group, Riyadh, 23 May 2012

1025-23-05-2012

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Dear Mr. Chairman,

Dear colleagues,

I would like to express my appreciation to our Saudi`s partners for hospitality and excellent organization of our work.

Today`s ministerial session of the "Friends of Yemen Group" is, in our opinion of special importance. From the moment of the Group`s last meeting in New York in 2010, a lot of milestone events have occurred in Yemen. After a long period of hardship and protracted political crisis, the Yemeni people have settled down to a hard, but right course of political transformation, rendering the aid from the international community especially needed. Together with other participants of the Group, Russia is ready to further facilitate successful realization of the drastic democratic and socio-economic alterations initiated in Yemen.

We support the efforts, made in such direction by the new government of the Republic of Yemen headed by President of the country A. Khadi, who received a credit of trust of the general of voters and Prime Minister of the National Unity Government M. Basindwa. Thanks to it, some good starting opportunities have been created for bailing out of the country from a protracted and dangerous crisis, a prospect of the national political process for the forthcoming period has been planned.

From the time of occurrence of the internal political conflict in Yemen in January 2011, Russia consistently stood for its settlement exclusively by peaceful non-violent means through a dialogue of the main political forces in Yemen with the assistance of the international community, but without any external interference in internal issues of the Yemeni state. From the beginning, our work has been based on the collectivity principle that made it possible to join efforts of external mediators and as a result step out to a consensus position of the UN Security Council, as a well as other active sponsors of the internal Yemeni settlement, first of all, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG). Relying on such joint consolidated line, the Yemenis themselves have taken the only right decision – to settle down to a course of mutually acceptable compromises, ensuring a non-violent transfer of authority in the country on the basis of the plan set up by that time– initiatives of the CCASG and the mechanism of its implementation, widely supported in the region and in the world.

At the state of preparation and further execution of the inter-Yemeni agreements, Russia joined the ranks of the main witnesses and guarantors of realization of the agreements, signed in Riyadh on 23 November 2011. We are disposed to continue active work in such a capacity together with our other partners.

After early election of the President of the Republic of Yemen this February, a two-year transition stage was started, objectively headed by the theme of an inter-Yemeni national dialogue. Russia undertook supervision of such a higher-priority subject, having joined its efforts with the European Union, being responsible for involving to the national dialogue of the parties, not included in the number of signatories of the Riyadh agreement.

In the upcoming period, the main task is to assist Yemen vigorously in putting the national dialogue on a practical footing and providing consultative and logistical aid to it. The dialogue and the whole political process in Yemen should lead to coordinated decisions on key problems of Yemen's internal agenda – state system, new election legislation and constitution, etc. Russia, as the chairman of the working group for the national dialogue and Yemen`s and Yemeni people`s old sincere friend, is committed to exert the most active effort to facilitate the implementation of these literally vital tasks.

The political guiding of the internal Yemeni settlement should be supported by measures for rendering an efficient socio-economic support to the country. We are interested in involvement to realization of a number of large projects in Yemen, primarily in the sphere of electric-power industry, water resources and irrigation, infrastructure and agriculture. Last July at the cost of the Russian special-purpose contribution to the UN World Food Programme, 1 thousand tonnes of wheat flour was supplied. The Yemeni partners currently study our companies` offers related to arranging of cereals supplies from Russia. Despite all difficulties and hardship, recently suffered by Yemen, the Russian health care professionals did not stop working and rendering help to the Yemenis practically about the whole country. For the 2012/2013 year we have given 110 grants for training of future specialists and postgraduates.

We regularly provide Yemen with a required humanitarian aid. Last time, we undertook such kind of measures in February, when 30 tonnes of relief consignments (tents, blankets, food, other goods of primary necessity) were forwarded to Sana`a in the line of the Ministry of the Russian Federation for Affairs for Civil Defence, Emergencies and Elimination of Consequences of Natural Disasters for people of the country, including refugees and temporarily moved persons, suffered from al-Qaeda terrorists` activity.

Fighting terrorist activities in Yemen is a special topic that should get central attention at this point. The success of comprehensive reforms and qualitative improvement of life in the country will largely depend on how quickly and effectively this evil is eradicated. We are ready to provide necessary assistance to the Yemeni authorities in this field and urge all representatives of the international community to do likewise.

It is important to ensure that objective difficulties do not lead us and Yemen's friends away from the chartered course or lead to a disruption of the political process in the country, which has become our common cause. This is the direction, in which the whole international community should act from now on, with the "Friends of Yemen Group" being an advance-guard in the given context. We propose to jointly think over the way to make our work even more active and efficient and maximize its result for the benefit not only of the Yemenis, who undoubtedly deserve a better live, peace and prosperity, but the region in general.

I thank you, Mr. Chairman.

23 May 2012

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