[Royal Highnesses], [Secretary General of the GCC], [H.E. the Prime Minister of Yemen], [ UN Secretary General] Excellencies, dear colleagues and friends,
Let me from the outset express my great honour to again represent the European Union in a Friends of Yemen meeting. I would like to thank our three hosts, [President Hadi/Prime Minister Bassindwa] [His Royal Highness Prince Saud and Ministers Hague and others] for giving us the opportunity to reiterate and take forward our support to the Yemeni Transition.
We are here to express our full and long term commitment to those who lead the Yemeni process towards a democratic and efficient State, where citizens can expect dignity, respect, justice, and prosperity.
We all know that the road to achieve these goals will be challenging and complex, from the economic, humanitarian, security and political point of view. To be credible and realistic, the Yemeni plans must address all these issues in an interlinked manner.
We need the Yemeni people and government to prioritize the actions. We need strategic guidance – from Yemen!
The EU has been standing by Yemen’s side for long already. This will not change. We will continue to extend our full support to Yemen and its transition. In Riyadh, at the beginning of the month, the EU announced our support of EUR 170 million to Yemen, and the increase of our yearly aid in the years ahead.
For this, the EU, like other donors, needs a clear, Yemeni-led strategy to be devised. A strategy which shows us what way Yemen wants to take, in a holistic and interlinked manner. We were delighted to see the pledges being made in Riyadh. Now it is time to listen to Yemen to hear how the amounts should be used and for us, donors, to coordinate our approach. I would also like to make a plea for rapid disbursement. I vividly remember my visit to Yemen last year – the situation was grim. And now, it is even more challenging. A million, yes, a million children are acutely malnourished. Every day in Yemen, millions go to bed hungry – not knowing when next they will be able to eat. And according to latest figures, Sana’a will be the first capital without water in less than 13 years. Need I add how this impacts on security and the social stability? I make a plea, to all present, that we rapidly disburse our pledges to alleviate the situation. The Yemeni people need it, now.
The EU is actively addressing the humanitarian situation and has mobilised 40 million Euros to tackle the most acute problems. In addition, the EU is continuing its work towards a more sustainable setting, through the social welfare system for the population most in need, and through working on social integration. We are also continuing working to help strengthening the health system, particularly primary healthcare.
The EU is also providing aid in building the state, and supporting the transition. The structural deficiencies there have been aggravated by the crises that Yemen has endured since early 2011. This is why our support to create an efficient well functioning state, is so vital.
The EU, as a neutral partner, supports the transition, and supports fully President Hadi’s courageous work. Yemen took an important step on that path when the preparatory committee for the National Dialogue was formed. We welcome the commitment expressed by all the representatives engaged in this dialogue to foster reconciliation and contribute together to build the future of the country. It is now working towards a successful national dialogue and national reconciliation.
We must all stand united to support the government and its effort to counter any attempt to spoil this vital process.
The EU will, as I said, remain firmly behind the Yemeni government in their work. We are encouraged by the determination with which the government of national unity has engaged to fight corruption and put in place the cornerstones of a solid economy. We stand by Yemen in its efforts to improve public finance management which free resources to deliver basic services and improve the daily lives of all Yemenis
Finally, I want to reiterate that the EU is impressed by the Yemeni people. Yemenis have shown the world that they are determined to create the New Yemen, a state built on values and prosperity. The road will be hard. Continued action and determination is required. And we, the international community, must stand behind the Yemenis to support their creation of a new Future.