The Washington Center for Yemeni Studies held a panel discussion via Zoom, to discuss: “The outcomes of the Riyadh consultations
What’s Next?” On Thursday, April 14.
The webinar discussed a package of results that emerged from the Yemeni consultations in Riyadh, the mechanism for drawing a road map and evaluating the constitutionality of the presidential declaration, and the challenges!
His Excellency Minister Saleh Al-Jabwani/Former Yemeni Minister of Transport.
Fatima Abu Al-Asrar/ Non-Resident Fellow and Researcher at the Middle East Institute and a Political Analyst at the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies.
Huda Al-Sarari/Yemeni Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, winner of the Martin Ennals Human Rights Award.
Abdul Samad Elfgeeh/ Director of the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies.
The panel was moderated by: Saif Al-Muthanna / Director of Public Relations of the Washington Center for Yemeni Studies.
In the beginning, Abu Al-Asrar spoke about the importance of the Riyadh consultations, which succeeded in bringing together the various Yemeni components and leaders, in pursuit of peace and security in Yemen. She added that she hoped that the consultations and the formation of a presidential council would be the beginning of lasting peace and the search for good governance. Abu Al-Asrar considered that the chances of success of Riyadh’s outputs remain dependent on many factors, the most important of which is the implementation of the first and second Riyadh Agreement, especially the security file, as the government is required to support security stability in Aden and the liberated areas.
And she urged solving the southern issue at the earliest opportunity in light of the political, military, and security conditions conducive to the return of state institutions, unless the south is a temporary issue, according to her words!
On the other hand, Al-Jabwani described what happened in Riyadh as a farce and a kind of continuous anesthesia that is carried out by the coalition countries. Al-Jabwani expressed that the talks were about state institutions and not the Yemeni people, so what is happening is a continuation of the partition project in Yemen and the opening of pockets in southern Yemen!
Regarding the Presidential Council: He considered it an unconstitutional council, a coup against Yemeni legitimacy, and the beginning of an internal proxy war.
Al-Jabwani considered that the coalition resorted to a larger umbrella, the Gulf Cooperation Council, to show the world that there is a Gulf consensus on the Yemeni issue and that the issue is not related to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as much as it is related to the Gulf overall.
On his question about the Security Council’s welcoming of the Presidential Council, Al-Jabwani considered that the welcome was a symbol of acceptance of reality as if it was written out of shame. He concluded by saying that the battle is with the Houthi militia, and therefore the militia’s defeat does not need this “glamorousness” more than its need for the alliance and the brothers to be honest, and for the intentions of those present to be also sincere, to turn their weapons towards the Houthis, and to support the national army with weapons and money.
Attorney Huda Al-Sarari who was present at the Consultations expressed her great satisfaction with these undertakings and the resulting aspirations and changes in the Yemeni scene, and what happened from the formation of the Presidential Council, which she considered to be a good step, praising the role played by the Gulf Cooperation Council and the coalition countries to unite the ranks of Yemenis. Al-Sarari expressed that there is complete satisfaction on the part of the Yemeni parties to go to a peaceful consensus in Yemen, excluding a military solution, and denying any pressure exerted by Saudi Arabia on the interlocutors. Al-Sarari praised the women’s presence in the consultations and the prominent role of civil society organizations.
And on the question of the role of relief in the consultations, She replied that she is proud of being part of this path of the meetings and future visions regarding the relief field in Yemen, reducing the level of starvation, and cooperating in resolving the file of displaced persons in Yemen and illegal immigrants.
She concluded by saying that the Riyadh Consultations were and still are a historic opportunity to stop the war in Yemen and move Yemen from a state of conflict to stability and security.
Professor Abdul Samad Elfgeeh spoke about the history of the presidential councils in Yemen, beginning with the era of al-Silal and al-Iryani and ending with what happened in Riyadh, and considered that what the coalition had done from these consultations was an attempt to block the pretexts thrown at him by the United Nations and its organizations, that legitimacy is a group of opposing parties.
And he added the pros and cons of the council, as he saw that the chance of success is slim based on the military formation in the council, the difficulty of the decisions taken, the affiliations of some members, and the loyalties of some countries.
However, Elfgeeh noted that there are advantages to the council, the most important of which is the unification of forces against the Houthi coup, and the postponement of the issue of the secession of the south, and considered that the restructuring of the Yemeni government was long overdue, but it came under international and regional circumstances that pushed towards this constitutional engineering, considering that the government’s stay in Riyadh will not change Something on the ground, stressing that the return of the government and the Presidential Council to Yemen has become an urgent necessity.
It is noteworthy that the consultations were launched on the 29th of last March until the 7th of April, which resulted in the formation of a presidential council led by Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi.
In conclusion of the consultations, the participants welcomed the decision of President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi to delegate his powers and transfer them to the Presidential Leadership Council, giving priority to the national interest and the interests of the Yemeni people. The final statement praised the efforts made by the GCC countries to unite the Yemeni ranks and their stance, especially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represented by the leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and his Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The participants also valued the efforts of the General Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf, for its initiative and for hosting these Yemeni-Yemeni consultations, which achieved successes that exceeded expectations.
The statement affirmed, “the desire and continuation to carry the trust and contribute to laying the foundations for building the Yemeni state, restoring and rebuilding dear Yemen, and restoring the power of the state.”