Yemens political transition on track but facing serious challenges – UN envoy

Yemen has been undergoing a democratic transition, under the leadership of President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, who came to power in an election in February. This followed the agreement signed by warring factions in November 2011 on a transitional settlement in the wake of widespread protests similar to those seen across the Middle East and North Africa and the resignation of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. “The transition is on track, but there have been challenges – serious challenges in various areas, including in the political and the security fields,” Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Yemen, told reporters at UN Headquarters.Mr. Benomar, who recently returned from his 14th mission to Yemen, told the Security Council in a closed-door briefing that, for the State to be able to function, it will need to reassert its authority in various parts of the country, especially where armed groups are in control.Last week a terrorist attack in the capital, Sana’a, resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, including among the security detail of Yemen’s defence minister.Mr. Benomar had strongly condemned the attack, which was the sixth attempt on the minister’s life, in a statement issued over the weekend. “This atrocious terrorist attack, which killed a number of innocent Yemenis, civilian and military alike, cannot be justified in any way, and every effort must be made to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he had stated.He told the Council today that with that terrorist attacks and with the recent attack on the United States Embassy in Sana’a, the re-structuring of the armed forces will need to proceed and the Council will need to support the President in pushing forward this process. Council members voiced their support for the steps taken by Yemen’s President in reforming and restructuring the security sector, while sharing the concerns by Mr. Benomar about ongoing attempts to undermine the transition process.They also agreed that “comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue should begin without delay in order to lay the foundations for a stable and unified Yemen,” Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, told reporters.Initial preparations have begun for the national dialogue conference, whose outcome will feed into the constitution-making process that is to conclude in late 2013, enabling general elections to take place in February 2014. Mr. Benomar described the national dialogue as a “historic opportunity” for all Yemenis to come together to address important issues and reported that the preparatory committee for the national dialogue has made progress. “I told the Council that the atmosphere in this committee was very constructive and the national dialogue is really what will make or break this transition, and it is important that we support this process.”A high-level meeting of the Friends of Yemen is scheduled to take place in New York on 27 September on the margins of the general debate of the General Assembly with the aim of reaffirming the international community’s strong support for the transition process. read more

Seventh annual General Brocks October Soirée set for Oct 25

Brock University staff, students and faculty should be prepared for some minor disruptions during Saturday’s seventh annual General Brock’s October Soirée.All buses will be redirected to the temporary bus staging on Isaac Brock Blvd. West from 5 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 25. Buses will return to their normal pickup in front of Schmon Tower on Sunday.Lot S East will be reserved for event parking beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday. Permit holders can park in Zone 1.Pay parking on Isaac Brock Blvd. West will not be available on Saturday. Pay parking is available at Lot D ($7 day rate) or at many pay machine/meter spaces around campus.Guernsey Market will be closed Saturday as it hosts Soirée. DeCew/Lowenberger dining halls will be open from 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m., and the Walker Food Court will be open from 8 a.m.-3 p.m.The sold out Soirée begins at 6 p.m. and is a fundraiser for students attending the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts.About 300 guests are expected as Brock continues its 50th anniversary celebrations. read more