Yemen peace process will undergo UN supervision, officials say

Consultations concluded in Riyadh with participation of large Yemeni parties and representatives

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Yemen’s peace process will come under the auspices of the United Nations after a week-long consultations between the country's representatives concluded on Thursday in Saudi Arabia.

The consultations, pushed by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), were held between Yemen's various political factions in Riyadh to revive UN-led talks aimed at ending the war.

They ended with the announcement of a two month nationwide ceasefire that started last Saturday. It has resulted in oil shipments reaching the port of Hodeidah on vessels that had been barred from entering for months. The deal is seen as a potential milestone towards ending the seven-year war in Yemen.

“The success of the Yemeni-Yemeni consultations is an important turning point on the road to comprehensive peace, it has expressed the consensus among the Yemeni people,” said the GCC's Secretary General, Nayef Al Hajraf.

Yemen's political parties were able to discuss ideas and solutions to the war with full transparency, Mr Al Hajraf said.

"The coalition's announcement to stopping military operations contributed to the success of the consultations," he said in his concluding remarks.

Yemen's Prime Minister Maseen Saeed said political parties have now greed to engage in a political solution and to abandon military ones, under the auspices of the UN.

"Political parties have agreed on governing the country's economic resources, government spending and develop transparency, accountability and anti-corruption mechanisms," he said.

The conclusion of the talks came as Yemen president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi handed over his powers to a new presidential council, he said in a televised statement on Thursday.

Mr Hadi also dismissed Vice President Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar and transferred his mandate to the new council.

The new Presidential Leadership Council will assume the duties of both the president and his deputy, Mr Hadi said.

Saudi Arabia welcomed the Yemeni president's decision to transfer his powers to the council.

The kingdom urged the body to start negotiations with the Houthis and said it would arrange $3 billion of support to the war-torn country's economy, state news agency SPA said.

Saudi Arabia and coalition partner UAE will each inject $1 billion into Yemen's central bank and the kingdom will grant an additional $1 billion for petroleum products and development, Saudi state media said.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman expressed his support for the council, SPA said on Twitter early on Thursday.

The council will carry out political, military and security duties for the Yemeni government during what the statement refers to as a "transitional period", Reuters reported.

"The newly established body will assume the duties of the president and his deputy and will be in charge of the country's political, security and military affairs during the transitional period," the state-owned Saba news agency reported.

The presidential council will be chaired by Gen Rashad Al Alimi, a former adviser for Mr Hadi, with a presidential board comprising seven members, Saba reported.

Yemen's President Abdrabu Mansur Hadi has formed a presidential leadership council to be led by Rashad Al Alimi. EPA

The formation of the council followed more than a week of extensive talks between Yemen’s political factions in the Saudi capital Riyadh, sponsored by the Gulf Co-operation Council.

GCC Secretary General Nayef Al Hajraf welcomed the move and assured the Yemeni leaders of the bloc's support in bringing stability and security to the country.

Three new bodies to support council

The presidential declaration said three bodies would be established to help the presidential council.

A reconciliation and consultation body comprising 15 members from all Yemeni political factions other than the Houthi rebels will be in charge of reuniting the Yemeni factions and paving the way for a comprehensive political process to end the conflict and restore order to the country.

A legal team of nine members, including judges and prominent lawyers, and an economic team of 14 members, among them former ministers, economic experts and businessmen, will also be established.

The move, according to Mr Hadi's statement, was taken in line with a 2011 power transfer initiative devised by the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council following anti-government protests and political upheaval in the country.

A seven-year conflict has divided Yemen between an internationally recognised government led by Mr Hadi and backed by Saudi Arabia, which is based in the southern city of Aden, and the Iran-aligned Houthi group in the capital Sanaa.

Updated: April 07, 2022, 6:10 PM