Yemenis recently went to the polls and elected Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi as their new president. Hadi’s election clearly demonstrated that the people of Yemen are embarking on a two-year path towards a new, more democratic Yemen: and, after more than three decades in power, Ali Abdullah Saleh will no longer be Yemen’s president. Hadi became acting president in November under a Gulf Cooperation Council-sponsored agreement aimed at bringing about a democratic transition in Yemen.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton congratulated the people of Yemen on holding successful presidential elections, and is looking forward to the work that remains. “As part of the [Gulf Cooperation Council] Initiative, Yemenis will convene a National Dialogue conference to address critical issues of national unity and the fundamental structure of Yemeni government and society, while taking steps to address urgent economic, social, and humanitarian challenges.”
Yemen is experiencing a severe shortage of water and rising levels of malnutrition among its population of about twenty-five million. In 2011 Yemen faced a separatist movement in the South, sectarian tensions in its north and the growing presence of al-Qaida’s most dangerous affiliate, al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. In a press report, U.S. Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein said that the fulfillment of the Gulf Cooperation plan and delivering basic services will be critical “in terms of our ability to defeat al-Qaida and other violent extremist organizations in the country.”
Yemen has been the site of the Arab Spring's longest popular uprising where protesters camped in tent cities and attended mass rallies since February 2011.
“The United States,” said Secretary Clinton, “will continue to support Yemen as it works to implement ... reforms and confront ... challenges so that all Yemenis will have the opportunity to realize their potential.”