Allow me to begin by congratulating you, Sir, on assuming the presidency of the Council and assuring you of my delegation’s full support. I also thank Ambassador Puri and his entire delegation for their excellent presidency in November. I thank Mr. Benomar, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, for his briefing on the situation in Yemen.
I welcome the first anniversary on 23 November of the signing of the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative, which paved the way to a peaceful political transition in Yemen. The Secretary-General travelled to Yemen on that occasion to demonstrate the support of the international community to the transition in Yemen.
France reiterates its full support to President Mansour and to the Yemeni Government in their efforts to implement an orderly political transition that meets the aspirations of the Yemeni people.
The transition in Yemen is exemplary, primarily because of the commitment of the Yemenis themselves. It shows that, in situations of overt crisis, the implementation of an orderly, peaceful and democratic transition is possible. The Yemenis have made considerable progress in implementing resolution 2014 (2011). The formation of a Government of National Unity, the beginning of the restructuring of the armed forces and the successful holding of presidential elections are all milestones in the completion of the first phase of the transition. The voter turnout in the presidential elections far exceeded the most optimistic estimates and demonstrated that the people of Yemen, in particular youth and women, support the transition mechanism and thereby sought to take ownership of it.
In order to consolidate the second phase of the transition, it is now urgent to achieve progress in three areas.
First is the launching of the National Dialogue, which must provide an opportunity for all stakeholders in Yemen, in particular youth and civil society, to collectively draft a new social contract and achieve national reconciliation. We welcome the agreement reached on the distribution of groups within the preparatory committee of the National Dialogue Conference. In this respect, we welcome the work undertaken by the Special Adviser to the Secretary- General and by the ambassadors of the 10 countries that are guarantors of the transition. We call on all Yemeni parties to implement the National Dialogue in a transparent and balanced way and to include all stakeholders in accordance with the timetable for the transition.
With the other sponsor countries of the Gulf initiative, France will provide any legal expertise that is requested of it, when the time comes, to support the members of the National Dialogue as they explore the possible outlines of a future constitution. We also welcome the mandate issued by the Yemeni Parliament to President Mansour to appoint a new electoral commission, and we encourage the rapid progress made on efforts to hold a referendum on the constitution in 2013 and national elections in early 2014.
Secondly, the Yemeni authorities must give particular attention to the ongoing deterioration of the humanitarian situation. The resolution of the humanitarian crisis is crucial to stabilizing the country and to its subsequent economic recovery. Given the magnitude of the needs, we welcome the results of the donors’ meeting in Riyadh and the meeting of the Friends of Yemen in New York, which raised nearly $8 billion through 2014.
In the confident wager that we are all making on the future of Yemen, France has a particular place. With an cumulative amount of $4.5 billion in economic investments, it is the leading investor in Yemen. France wishes to maintain its commitment to the country through its projects, which are aimed in particular at developing the electricity sector. Concessional assistance of more than $80 million will finance both the provision of electricity to rural areas and the regulated distribution of electricity throughout the country. The effective implementation of these projects, however, still hinges on an appropriate security framework. These actions are in keeping with the framework of broader cooperation, which ranges from training to security and includes humanitarian and food assistance.
The third priority is restructuring the security and defence forces. France reiterates its firm condemnation of all acts of terrorism, regardless of their justification. In this regard, the Yemeni Government needs to allocate the appropriate resources to protect industrial installations, as their repeated sabotage is denying the country the use of its own resources and deterring investors. The security of airports and maritime ports, two areas that are targeted by terrorists, also remains a major challenge to the economic development of the country.
The Security Council and the United Nations must remain fully committed to the Yemenis. The transition in Yemen has been a success for the Council. Through its resolution 2014 (2011), the Council played a decisive role with respect to a peaceful political transition in Yemen and in keeping with the expectations of the people of Yemen. If they remain fully committed to the salutary path they have chosen, Yemenis can count on the assistance of the Council as they consolidate their transition. However, we are particularly concerned by the actions and statements of certain players that could disturb, delay or destabilize the political transition. We remind them that, in resolution 2051 (2012) of 12 June, the Council underscored its determination to support the transition in Yemen, including by expressing its readiness to consider further measures, including under Article 41 of the United Nations Charter, if such actions continue.
My country and the Council continue to stand with the Yemenis in this historic transition, thereby confirming our support to the legitimate democratic aspirations that currently abound in the region.
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