I welcome today’s action by the Yemeni government and the opposition to sign a political agreement brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council to form a government of national unity within 14 days and hold early presidential elections within 90 days. In particular, the United States welcomes President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s decision to transfer executive powers immediately to the Vice President in accordance with the agreement. This represents an important step forward for the Yemeni people, who deserve the opportunity to determine their own future.
For ten months, the Yemeni people have courageously and steadfastly voiced their demands for change in cities across Yemen in the face of violence and extreme hardship. Today’s agreement brings them a significant step closer to realizing their aspirations for a new beginning in Yemen. The United States urges all parties to move immediately to implement the terms of the agreement, which will allow Yemen to begin addressing an array of formidable challenges and chart a more secure and prosperous path for the future. The United States will continue to stand by the Yemeni people as they embark on this historic transition. We also acknowledge the important work done by our GCC partners in supporting this step forward.
The United States takes note of the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) September 23 statement and joins it in expressing deep concern about the current situation in Yemen. We again express our sincere condolences to all those who have lost loved ones as a result of recent violence. We urge all parties to cease violence and exercise maximum restraint. We support the GCC’s call for the formation of a committee to investigate events that resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians. Too many Yemenis have lost their lives and each day that passes without a peaceful and orderly transition is another day that the Yemeni people are forced to live in an unstable environment that threatens their security and livelihood.
The Yemeni government must immediately address the democratic aspirations of its people. The Yemeni people have made clear their desire for a peaceful and orderly transition that is responsive to their calls for peace, reconciliation, prosperity, and security.
We again urge President Saleh to initiate a full transfer of power without delay and arrange for presidential elections to be held before the end of the year within the framework of the GCC initiative. The Yemeni people have suffered enough and deserve a path toward a unified, stable, secure, and democratic Yemen. We will continue to work with the GCC and others in the international community to support the Yemeni people’s aspirations.
The United States is deeply disappointed by President Saleh’s continued refusal to sign the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) initiative. He is turning his back on his commitments and disregarding the legitimate aspirations of the Yemeni people.
The concerted efforts of the international community, led by the GCC, have been tireless and all sides have agreed — on multiple occasions — to sign the GCC initiative. President Saleh is now the only party that refuses to match actions to words. We urge him to immediately follow through on his repeated commitments to peacefully and orderly transfer power and ensure the legitimate will of the Yemeni people is addressed. The time for action is now.
We are also outraged to learn that earlier today factions loyal to President Saleh encircled the UAE embassy in Sana’a. They refused to allow U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, ambassadors from the United Kingdom the European Union and GCC states, the GCC Secretary General and other foreign diplomats to leave the embassy. We condemn this action and call on President Saleh to meet his international obligations to ensure the safety and security of all foreign diplomats and their staffs working in Yemen.
The United States is deeply concerned by recent violence throughout Yemen, and joins European Union High Representative Ashton in strongly condemning these troubling actions. We call on the Yemeni security forces to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from violence, and respect the rights of the Yemeni people to freely and peacefully assemble and express their views.
The United States commends the efforts of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to broker an agreement in support of the Yemeni people. We welcome the May 10 statement by the GCC urging parties in Yemen to sign this agreement. We call on the parties to sign and implement the terms of the agreement now to ensure an orderly, peaceful transition of power. This transition must begin immediately in order for the Yemeni people to realize their aspirations for a brighter, more prosperous and democratic future.