Photo credit: AFP PHOTO/ MOHAMMED HUWAIS

On Monday, November 19, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon arrived in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, to mark the first anniversary of the signing of the GCC deal and to discuss the progress of the initiative’s implementation. Ban Ki Moon reiterated the UN’s commitment to the political transition in Yemen, warning that anyone obstructing the implementation of the GCC deal would face sanction.

In a press conference held at the presidential palace, Ban Ki Moon said “Your country…was on the brink of civil war, even just one year ago. But you have overcome this with political courage and determination which meant, in the end, foresight and political wisdom have prevailed. This is a process which must be irreversible. There is no turning back.”

The UN chief also pushed for the National Dialogue to take place. The dialogue is mandated by the GCC initiative to bring together various political groups in the country. Originally scheduled to begin on November 15, the dialogue has been postponed until the beginning of next year. One reason for the delay was the announcement by southern leaders that they would not participate in the conference.

During his stay in Sanaa, Ban Ki Moon met with members of a committee instructed to prepare the National Dialogue. While he acknowledged the “very difficult past legacies,” the UN Secretary General found that the preparatory committee was “very much committed to address all the challenges, including the grievances of [the South] and meeting the legitimate aspirations of many people.”

The Secretary General also acknowledged the important role of the National Unity government, saying “I am sure that under such a strong leadership and with strong backing from the United Nations you will be successful. That is my message. Let us work together.”