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Renewed Efforts for Peace in Yemen


The site of a suicide car bombing in Yemen’s southern city of Aden, Yemen, Monday, Aug. 29, 2016. The bombing claimed by the Islamic State group in Aden has killed over 50 pro-government troops.

Mr. Kerry announced U.S. support for a renewed UN-led approach to negotiations between the warring parties.

The recent suicide bombing in Aden, which was claimed by Da’esh, highlights the violence that continues to rage in Yemen.

In September 2014, a small minority from the north of Yemen-—the Houthis, allied with former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, took the capital of Sanaa by force. This action forced members of the Republic of Yemen government—including President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi--into exile in Saudi Arabia, and prompted the government’s request for a Saudi-led coalition to begin a series of military strikes to drive back the Houthi/Saleh alliance.

In the absence of a political solution between the parties, Daesh and Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula have taken advantage of the instability in Yemen.

Secretary of State John Kerry recently met in Jeddah with officials from Saudi Arabia and several other Gulf countries, as well as UN Special Envoy Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed. Mr. Kerry announced U.S. support for a renewed UN-led approach to negotiations between the warring parties ”with both a security and political track simultaneously working to provide a comprehensive settlement” – an agreement whose details would be finalized by the parties themselves in negotiations, but whose broad outline would include the following:

“The swift formation of a new national unity government, with power shared among the parties; the withdrawal of forces from Sanaa and other key areas; the transfer of all heavy weapons, including ballistic missiles and launchers, from the Houthis and forces allied with them, to a third party.”

The new approach, he said, would require the new unity government to respect the security and integrity of international borders, and would prohibit the deployment of weapons from Yemeni territory “that threatened international waterways or the security of Yemen’s neighbors.”

Mr. Kerry expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia and others who joined in supporting the new framework, and called on all sides to be supportive.

“The restoration of stability to Yemen is vital in order to ease the suffering and to prevent groups like al-Qaida and Da’esh from taking further advantage of the political and security vacuum…that has been created,” said Secretary Kerry. “It is essential for Yemen, for countries in the region, and for the world community…to agree on a plan to end the fighting and achieve a lasting peace.”

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