Belfast Telegraph

Friday 11 July 2014

Hague warns insurgents in Yemen

William Hague says the United Nations is poised to take action over Yemen

William Hague has issued a "clear warning" to insurgents in Yemen that the United Nations was poised to take serious action.

The Foreign Secretary said any attempt to disrupt elections held in the nation next year would spur the UN security council into action. Mr Hague issued the warning after hosting a ministerial-level meeting of the international Friends of Yemen group in London.

Representatives from more than 35 countries and international organisations attended the talks on political, economic and security challenges in the nation. The group was formed in 2010 to help the Middle Eastern country develop its economy and confront extremism after a growth in Islamist insurgency.

Mr Hague said: "Progress is being made but the road ahead is difficult and many challenges remain." Britain stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Yemen as it takes bold steps to tackles terrorism, he added.

At a press conference in Lancaster House, Mr Hague said Yemen matters to the UK because instability in the nation can lead to wider conflict.Yemen's government has laid out its roadmap for next year's election.

Mr Hague said: "To those who seek to disrupt the peaceful process under way, the international community has a clear warning - any attempt to spoil the process, to interfere with elections or undermine the national dialogue will be met with a serious response and further measures from the United Nations, including the UN security council."

Around £5 billion has been pledged through the group to support the efforts of president Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi to quell insurgency and restore stability.

Yemen foreign minister Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi said much of the money had not yet been spent but insisted progress was being made. None of the funding passes through his government's coffers, he added. Dr Al-Qrbi said: "Perhaps Yemen is moving away from the abyss but it is still facing many major challenges politically, economically and socially."

Asked if lessons from Yemen could be learnt to help achieve a peace process in Syria, Mr Hague said the two nations were not comparable. He said discussions about Syria had been held "in the margins" with Russian representatives on Thursday and further talks would be held with Russian ministers next week.

He said suggestions that the Assad regime would talk to the opposition had been made before and it was up to them to prove that could now be taken seriously. He added: "The last two years, every offer from the regime has not amounted to any substance."

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