Remarks at the Friends of Yemen Ministerial

Anne W. Patterson
Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs
Washington, DC
September 24, 2014

Good afternoon. I would like to express my gratitude to Foreign Minister al-Sallal, Prince Saud al-Faisal, and Secretary Hammond for their leadership of the Friends of Yemen.

As ISIL and other regional crises continue to demand our attention, it is more important than ever that we don’t lose sight of what’s at stake in Yemen. It’s more important than ever that we continue to support the Yemeni people and the Yemeni government during this very fragile moment. And it’s more important than ever that we sustain practical, unified, and coordinated support. Over the past two months alone, the United States has provided over $160 million in additional economic and humanitarian support, bringing our total assistance since the transition began in November 2011 to $875 million.

Since last April’s ministerial, the Yemeni people have continued to make steady progress implementing the GCC Initiative. Unfortunately, there are still some who pursue their aims not through dialogue but through force. These actors are not serving the interests of Yemen or the Yemeni people. And they threaten to break down everything the Yemeni people have worked so hard to build up over the past few years.

This is why we urge all signatories to implement the terms of the UN-mediated Peace and National Partnership Agreement, reject violence, and participate fully and constructively in the political transition process.

We fully support President Hadi’s leadership of this process and his unwavering commitment to difficult political and economic reforms. The challenge is now to implement these reforms and give the people of Yemen the sense of economic possibility and political stability they so desperately seek and deserve.

In the weeks and months ahead, this process should yield a draft constitution, referendum, and national elections. This process offers the best hope for a better future for Yemen. And it’s critical that we all do our part to keep it on track, identify specific ways to better coordinate and focus our assistance, and work in concert to support the Yemeni people on their courageous journey.

There are plenty of challenges on the road ahead. But I am confident that so long as the Yemeni people continue to press ahead, and so long as we sustain our support, we will transcend those challenges and realize our shared aspiration for a more peaceful and prosperous Yemen.

Thank you very much.