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On Yemen, UNSC Hears of Budget Cuts & Southern Movement

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, December 11 -- After the UN Security Council got briefings public and private about Yemen on December 11, Inner City Press asked envoy Jamal Benomar about the budget and the South, and the Chadian president of the Security Council about the impact to date of the sanctions.

  Benomar acknowledged that there are budget problems, citing the attacks on hydrocarbon infrastructure. Saudi Arabia, as Inner City Press has reported, has reduced its budget support due to the Houthis advances and participation in government.
  As to the Hirak or Southern Movement, Benomar said he told the Council about their history, growing from marginalization, and their demands. Their November 30 deadline came and went. Now what?

  Unlike the Houthis, Hirak has not been sanctioned by the UNSC. The Council's president, when Inner City Press asked about the effectively of the sanctions to date, cited the public briefing. But what to the members think? Watch this site.

On November 13, six days after sanctions were imposed on Yemen's former president Saleh and two Houthi leaders, Inner City Press asked the International Monetary Fund, "does the IMF have any comment or response to the new government, the imposition of sanctions by the UN Security Council? What is the status of the IMF's program in Yemen?"

  Later on November 13, IMF Deputy Spokesperson William Murray told Inner City Press, "Staff is in close dialogue with the authorities, who have reaffirmed their commitment to implement their IMF-backed economic reform program. These reforms are essential to boost inclusive growth, reduce unemployment and poverty, tackle corruption, and enhance fiscal and external sustainability. The three-year economic program, which was approved on September 2, 2014, is reviewed every six months. The first review is therefore planned for the Spring of 2015."

  The authorities, of course, have to some degree kept changing. We'll stay on this.

The UN Security Council's sanctions committee on November 7 designated for asset freeze and travel bans former President Saleh and two Houthi leaders, Abd al-Khaliq al-Huthi and Abdullah Yahya al Hakim. Click here for UNSC press release.

  After that, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon put out a statement welcoming the new government but not mentioning the sanctions:

The Secretary-General welcomes today’s announcement of the formation of the new Peace and National Partnership Government in Yemen. He congratulates President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister-Designate Khaled Bahah for their leadership during this process. The Secretary-General commends the parties for their pledge to accept the slate decided on by the President and Prime Minister, and to extend their unwavering support to the new government. At this uncertain and fragile time for Yemen, today’s announcement is a positive step towards political stability and peace in the country.

The Secretary-General reminds the parties of the political commitments they made in signing the Peace and National Partnership Agreement. Yemen is facing enormous challenges at present, which can only be overcome if all sides work together in the greater national interest to implement the Agreement without delay.

The United Nations looks forward to continuing its engagement with the President, the Prime Minister, the Government and all Yemenis leaders as they seek to build a new democratic Yemen that responds to the legitimate aspirations of its people.

  Back on October 31 the US State Department put out this answer to a question taken earlier that day:

Question: Do you have any reaction to reports that the Houthis have given President Hadi 10 days to form a government?

Answer: We have seen the reports that speakers at a Houthi-convened conference today announced a deadline for President Hadi to form a government in 10 days.  U.S. officials continue to support the efforts of Yemen’s political constituencies, especially President Hadi and Prime Minister Bahah, in implementing the provisions of the September 21 Peace and National Partnership Agreement, including the formation of a government.  All Yemenis, including the Houthis, have an important role to play in working peacefully to form a government that can meet the needs of the Yemeni people and continue to pursue the key steps of its political transition.

  Back on October 13 after Yemeni Prime Minster designate Ahmed Awadh Bin Mubarak was vetoed by the Houthis, on October 13 President Hadi appointed Yemen’s current UN Ambassador Khaled Mahfoodh Abdulla Bahah to the position.

 Later on October 13 after a three-hour UN Security Council meeting, brief "press elements" were read out at the stakeout once again vaguely threatening sanctions -- Inner City Press' questions including about secession of the South were not answered -- and welcoming Bahah as prime minister.

He was Minister of Oil and Minerals of Yemen from 2006 until 2008, under Ali Saleh, including being “the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Yemen Liquefied Natural Gas Project with investments of over $4 Billion, Chairman of the Safer Exploration and Production Petroleum Company and, Chairman of the Yemen General Corporation for Oil and Gas, which includes the Aden Refinery Company, the Yemen Refinery Company, the Yemen Oil Company, the Yemen Investment Oil Company, and the Petroleum Training Center.”

  That's a whole lot of hydrocarbons. Watch this site.


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