Yemeni peace process

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Yemeni peace process refers to the proposals and negotiations to pacify the Yemeni Crisis by arranging a power transfer scheme within the country and later cease-fire attempts within the raging civil war. While initially unsuccessful, the reconciliation efforts resulted with presidential elections, held in Yemen in February 2012. The violence in Yemen, however, continued during the elections and after, culminating in Houthi successful grip of power and the ensuing civil war.

Yemeni Revolution reconciliation[edit]

2011 mediation attempts[edit]

In April, the Gulf Co-operation Council attempted to mediate an end to the crisis, drafting several proposals for a transition of power. Toward the end of the month, Saleh signaled he would accept a plan that would see him leave power one month after signing and provided for a national unity government in the lead-up to elections.[1] Though some protesters ballyhooed the deal, criticizing provisions that granted the president immunity from prosecution and required the opposition to join with Saleh and his ministers in the national unity government,[2] opposition leaders eventually agreed to sign it.[3] By the end of the month, though, Saleh reversed course and the government announced he would not sign it, putting the GCC initiative on hold.[4][5]

In early May, officials again indicated that Saleh would sign the GCC deal, and the opposition agreed to sign as well if Saleh signed it personally in his capacity as president.[6] However, Saleh again backed away, saying the deal did not require his signature, and the opposition followed suit, accusing Saleh of negotiating in bad faith.[7] Protests and violence across the country intensified in the wake of this second reversal by Saleh.[8][9]

In late May, opposition leaders received assurances that Saleh would sign the GCC plan after all, and they signed the deal the day before the president was scheduled to ink it as well.[10] But Saleh once again decided not to sign, and a brief but tense standoff occurred on 22 May when Saleh's supporters surrounded the embassy building of the United Arab Emirates in Sana'a, trapping international diplomats (including the secretary-general of the GCC) inside until the government dispatched a helicopter to ferry them to the presidential palace.[11]

On 23 November 2011, Saleh flew to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia to sign the Gulf Co-operation Council plan for political transition, which he had previously spurned. Upon signing the document, he agreed to legally transfer the powers of the presidency to his deputy, Vice President Abdu-Rabbo Mansour al-Hadi within 30 days and formally step down by the 21 February 2012 presidential elections, in exchange of immunity from prosecution for him and his family.[12]

Saleh step-down agreement and elections[edit]

On 21 January 2012, the Assembly of Representatives of Yemen approved the immunity law. It also nominated Vice President Hadi as its candidate for the upcoming presidential election.[13] Saleh left Yemen on the next day to seek medical treatment in the United States, and is reportedly seeking exile in Oman.[14]

A presidential election was held in Yemen on 21 February 2012. With a report claims that it has 65 percent of its turnout, Hadi wons 99.8% of the vote. Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi was sworn in as president of Yemen on 25 February 2012, officially removing Saleh from power, who has ruled the country for 33-years. Saleh returned home at the same day to attend Hadi's presidency inauguration.[15]

Reconciliation process 2013-14[edit]

2015 Civil War cease fire attempts[edit]

May 2015 cease-fire[edit]

A five-day ceasefire proposed by Saudi Arabia was accepted by the Houthis and their allies in the military on 10 May 2015. The ceasefire was intended to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to the country.[16] The temporary truce began on the night of 12 May to allow the delivery of food, water, medical, and fuel aid throughout the country.[17]

On the fourth day of the truce, the fragile peace unraveled as fighting broke out in multiple southern governorates. At least three civilians in Aden and 12 in Taiz were killed on 16 May, despite the ceasefire.[18] Agence France-Presse reported that "dozens" were killed in southern Yemen by the clashes, including 26 Houthi and 12 pro-Hadi fighters.[19]

Omani Initiative[edit]

Around this same time in 2015 reports surfaced in the media suggesting that Oman, which is the only Middle Eastern Monarchy not taking part in the coalition and has a border with Yemen, has presented a 7-point plan to both Iran and Saudi Arabia. Oman has played a vital role as a bridge between Tehran and the West in the past to help in the nuclear negotiations and thus enjoy good relations with Iran as well as its GCC neighbors. It has also been suggested that Oman was responsible to mediate a 24-hour ceasefire although analysts doubt if Oman can help bring about more rigid negotiations.[20][21]

The following parts constituted the planned initiative:

  • The withdrawal of the Houthis and forces loyal to deposed president Ali Abdullah Saleh from all Yemeni cities and the return of military hardware and munitions seized from the Yemeni Army.
  • The restoration of the president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the government of Khaled Bahah.
  • Early parliamentary and presidential elections.
  • An agreement signed by all Yemeni parties.
  • The conversion of Ansarullah into a political party.
  • An international aid conference attended by donor states.
  • Yemen entering the Gulf Cooperation Council.


The UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement, is initiated by the United Nations in Yemen.


2020 ceasefire in response to the COVID-19 pandemic[edit]

After the United Nations urged both sides to pursue peace talks in order to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in Yemen,[22] the Saudi-led coalition called a unilateral ceasefire beginning 9 April at noon, to support efforts to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.[23] However, despite pledging ceasefire in Yemen, the Saudi-led coalition carried out dozens of airstrikes in the span of a week. The Yemen Data Project stated that at least 106 Saudi-led airstrikes, across 26 raids in Yemen had been carried out by the Kingdom in just one week.[24] On July 2, coalition fighter jets launched scores of airstrikes on several Yemeni provinces. The operation was a response to ballistic missile and drone launchings by the Houthis against Saudi Arabia.[25]

Prisoner Exchange[edit]

On 27 September 2020, the United Nations announced that the Iran-backed Houthi rebels and the Hadi government supported by the Saudi-led military coalition, agreed to exchange about 1,081 detainees and prisoners related to the conflict as part of a release plan reached in early 2020. The deal stated the release of 681 rebels along with 400 Hadi government forces, which included fifteen Saudis and four Sudanese. The deal was finalized after a week-long meeting held in Glion, Switzerland, co-chaired by UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths. The prisoner-swap deal was done by the UN during 2018 peace talks in Sweden and both parties were agreed on several measures including the cease-fire in the strategic port city of Hodeida. A prisoner swap deal was made as part of the 2018 peace talks held in Sweden. However, the implementation of the plan clashed with military offensives from Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition, which aggravated the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, leaving millions suffering medical and food supply shortages.[26]


The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced in January 2021 that he would designate three leaders of the Houthi movement in Yemen as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. The aid workers and diplomats raised concerns following the announcement, saying that it would hamper the peace process and the aid delivery to Yemen.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hatem, Mohammed; Carey, Glen (23 April 2011). "Yemen’s Saleh Agrees to Step Down in Exchange for Immunity, Official Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  2. ^ Staff (22 April 2011). "Rival Camps Hold Protests in Yemen – Pro- and Anti-Government Demonstrators Hold Rallies as Saleh Gives Guarded Welcome to GCC Plan To Defuse Crisis". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  3. ^ Staff (26 April 2011). "Scattered Yemen Protests Continue Despite Transition Accord". Voice of America. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  4. ^ Staff (30 April 2011). "Reports: Saleh Refuses To Sign Exit Deal – Yemeni President Backs Wway from Signing Agreement Requiring Him To Give Up Power in Exchange for Legal Immunity". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  5. ^ "Saleh Refusal Forces Yemen Deal Postponement". Al Jazeera English. 1 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  6. ^ "Yemen's president, opposition to sign GCC power-transition deal in Sanaa: ministry". Xinhua. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2011.
  7. ^ "Saleh 'resists' as Thousands Rally in Yemen". Al Jazeera English. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  8. ^ Greenberg, Joel (24 March 2011). "13 Reported Dead after Yemeni Forces Open Fire on Protesters". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  9. ^ "Several Protesters Killed in Yemen Cities". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 13 May 2011.
  10. ^ "Yemeni opposition signs the Gulf-brokered deal". Xinhua. 22 May 2011. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
  11. ^ Saleh Gunmen Hold Many Envoys Hostage At Uae Embassy In Sana’A
  12. ^ "Saleh, Yemen's great survivor, finally quits power". Khaleej Times. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 23 November 2011.
  13. ^ Kasinof, Laura (21 January 2012). "Yemen Legislators Approve Immunity for the President". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
  14. ^ Yemen Leader Leaves for Medical Care in New York
  15. ^ "Yemen Swears In New President". The Wall Street Journal. 27 February 2012. Archived from the original on March 1, 2012.
  16. ^ "Yemen's Houthi Rebels Accept Five-Day Truce Proposal". The Wall Street Journal. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 10 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Yemen conflict: Aid effort begins as truce takes hold". BBC News. 13 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  18. ^ Al-Haj, Ahmed (16 May 2015). "Fighting Rages in Yemen on 4th Day of Humanitarian Truce". ABC News. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  19. ^ "South Yemen clashes kill dozens as ceasefire nears end". France 24. 16 May 2015. Retrieved 16 May 2015.
  20. ^ "Oman breaks from GCC on Yemen conflict". Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  21. ^ Al-Araal-Jadeed staff. "Oman offers seven-point peace plan for Yemen". alaraby. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
  22. ^ "As coronavirus spreads, U.N. seeks Yemen urgent peace talks resumption". Reuters. 2 April 2020. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  23. ^ "Ceasefire begins in Yemen to help combat virus". BBC News. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  24. ^ "Saudi-led coalition bombs Yemen 'dozens' of times despite declaring ceasefire last week to combat coronavirus". Independent. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  25. ^ "Saudi-led coalition hits Houthi-held areas in renewed air raids". Al Jazeera. 2 July 2020.
  26. ^ "Yemen warring sides agree to swap over 1,000 prisoners". France 24. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  27. ^ "US to declare Yemen's Houthi rebels as 'terrorist organization'". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 11 January 2021.