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Yemen: The Peace and National Partnership Agreement

[Jamal Benomar. Image from Wikipedia.] [Jamal Benomar. Image from Wikipedia.]

[What follows is the text—taken from the announcement by Jamal Benomar—of the Peace and National Partnership Agreement signed by representatives of Ansarallah, the umbrella organization of the Houthi movement, and the leadership of major political factions in Yemen, including the sitting government. It was signed late on 21 September 2014 after Ansarallah militarily seized control of Sanaa. It has been “welcomed” by the Gulf Cooperation Council and the General-Secretary of the United Nations.]

The Peace and National Partnership Agreement

21 September 2014

Preamble: Pursuant to the outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, which have been agreed upon by all Yemeni constituencies and which laid the foundations for building a new, federal democratic Yemeni state based on the rule of law, equal citizenship, human rights and good governance; resolved to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen; committed to responding to the peoples’ demand for peaceful change, economic, financial and administrative reforms, and to achieving economic welfare; dedicated to furthering the higher national interest through a spirit of partnership and consensus in diagnosis, solutions, and implementation; and committed to stabilizing the country and realizing a bright promising democratic future, the Parties, in the interest of national unity and building and promoting peace, commit to the following:

Article 1: The President of the Republic shall engage in inclusive and transparent consultations with all of the constituencies represented in the National Dialogue Conference, immediately following the signing of this Agreement. The purpose of these consultations shall be to establish a competency-based government in a period not to exceed one (1) month. The current government shall remain responsible for the normal affairs until the formation of the new government. In establishing the new government, the principles of competence, integrity and national partnership shall be upheld, and broad participation of political constituencies shall be ensured.

Through this consultation process, constituencies shall be meaningfully engaged, and they shall be represented in the executive bodies at the central and governorate levels to ensure efficiency and national partnership.

Article 2: Within three (3) days following the entry into force of this Agreement, the President of the Republic shall appoint political advisers from Ansarallah and the Southern Peaceful Movement. The President of the Republic shall define the authorities and functions of his political advisers.

A new Prime Minister, who shall be a neutral and impartial national figure of competence and high integrity and who shall enjoy broad political support, shall be appointed. The President of the Republic shall issue a presidential decree charging the new Prime Minister to form a new government.

The political advisers to the President of the Republic shall develop criteria for candidates for posts in the new government. These criteria shall include: integrity, competency, requisite expertise in a field relevant to the ministerial portfolio, commitment to the protection of human rights and the rule of law, and impartiality in the conduct of state affairs.

The political advisers to the President of the Republic shall make recommendations to the President of the Republic and Prime Minister regarding the allocation of Cabinet seats to the political constituencies, ensuring representation of women and youth.

Within three (3) days following the announcement of the new Prime Minister, all constituencies shall nominate their candidates for the Cabinet to the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister. If any constituency fails to submit their nominees within an additional three (3) days after the initial three-day period, the President of the Republic and the new Prime Minister shall have the right to name candidates, as they see appropriate for the portfolios, provided that they meet the criteria listed above and that they reinforce the principle of national partnership.

The President of the Republic and the Prime Minister shall consult with a representative of each constituency of his political advisers in order to decide on any objections raised by the constituencies regarding whether candidates of other constituencies meet the criteria listed above within a period not to exceed three (3) days.

The President of the Republic shall, after consultations, select the Ministers of Defence, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Interior, provided that they meet the criteria listed above, and does not belong or is not loyal to any political party.

The Prime Minister shall, in consultation with the President of the Republic, select the Ministers for the remaining portfolios, provided they meet the criteria listed above.

The government shall, within thirty (30) days following the appointment of the Cabinet, develop a programme that is consensual and based primarily on implementation of the Outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference. The programme shall be submitted to the Parliament for a vote of confidence.

Within fifteen (15) days following the signing of this Agreement, the President shall issue a decree expanding the Shura Council according to the recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference, and in a manner that ensures national partnership.

Article 3: Alleviating the burden of the people is a mutual responsibility and requires the collaborative efforts of all constituencies. To this end, the new government shall establish an economic committee of qualified experts and economists drawn from various political constituencies and relevant government ministries with expertise in the field of financial and economic regulation and management. The recommendations of the committee shall be binding on the government. The committee shall be formed within one (1) week after the formation of the government. The committee shall study the economic and fiscal situation in Yemen by reviewing the state budget and spending, and shall make recommendations on how the savings will be used to benefit people living in poverty and previously marginalised areas.

The committee shall prepare an overall economic reform programme that is time-bound, specific and clear, and that is primarily aimed at eradicating corruption in all sectors, addressing the imbalance in the public budget and rationalising expenditures. The committee shall identify and report on the deficiencies caused by pervasive corruption and lack of adequate oversight, and shall propose solutions regarding the required comprehensive reforms for the oil and electricity sectors, together with the new government, in a manner that will achieve the demands and aspirations of the people.

A new decision shall be issued immediately providing for a new price of 20 liters of petrol and diesel at 3000 YR. The abovementioned economic committee shall reconsider this within three (3) months, based on the liberalization of the import and distribution of oil and the reform of the electricity sector, which will lead to real price reform based on a scientific and economic assessment, and meet the aspirations of the people.

The committee shall develop a detailed and comprehensive plan, which will include a package of measures to address the financial and economic crisis now facing Yemen in a way that protects and promotes the rights and livelihoods of all Yemenis, particularly the vulnerable and those living in poverty. The plan shall aim to create an enabling environment whereby all Yemenis are able to maximize their full economic potential and provide a decent standard of living for their families.

In developing this plan, the committee shall examine all economic and financial issues, to primarily include the following issues:

  1. opening up competition and export/import for the private sector;
  2. the price of basic commodities;
  3. ensuring tax and customs revenue collection, and tax and customs reform;
  4. collecting revenue owed to all statement institutions, including for taxes, customs or utilities, amongst others, from everyone, focusing on the key land holders;
  5. eliminating ghost workers and double dippers in all state civil, military and security institutions, and any new recruitments in state civil institutions shall be done through the Ministry of Civil Service without prejudice to exceptional remedies agreed to in the National Dialogue Conference outcomes;
  6. applying the biometric (fingerprint) system in all state, civil, military and security institutions;
  7. alleviating the burden on the citizens from fuel subsidy reform;
  8. infrastructure investment;
  9. financial and administrative corruption; and
  10. social protection programmes.

The committee shall also make recommendations to the Ministry of Civil Service on reform of salary scales with a view to alleviating the burden on low-income Yemenis.

The committee shall include in its plan a proposal to activate the monitoring and audit bodies, notably the Central Organization of Control and Audit and the Anti-Corruption Authority, and to make their annual reports accessible to the public.

The committee shall present its binding plan and implementation matrix to the new government within three (3) months. The President and the new government shall work closely with all constituencies to implement the recommendations of the committee.

Article 4: The new government shall undertake the following:

  1. increase the Social Welfare Fund payments by 50 per cent and deliver the payments to the beneficiaries immediately, while reviewing beneficiary eligibility criteria to ensure that those who are ineligible are eliminated and those who are eligible are enrolled;
  2. increase civil service, military and security sector salaries, and expedite the process for eliminating ghost workers and double dippers by making all payments through bank or post office transfers; and
  3. increase the budget for the next fiscal year for education and health, which shall be targeted toward people living in poverty and in marginalised areas.

Article 5: The new government shall commit to the full implementation of the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference relevant to countering corruption and shall provide the necessary resources in this regard.

Article 6: The President of the Republic shall exercise his constitutional authorities to ensure fair representation of all constituencies in executive bodies at the central and governorate levels, as well as in oversight bodies, to ensure national partnership, competence, integrity and efficiency. Fair participation in judicial bodies shall be ensured according to the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

A government operating under the principle of national partnership shall respect the high interests of Yemen in both domestic and foreign policies, and reflect the will of all of the people.

Article 7: All constituencies shall participate in the preparations for the new biometric voter registry and the referendum on the constitution based on the new voter registry, and shall participate in the preparations and monitoring of elections according to the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

Article 8: The President of the Republic shall work closely with all constituencies in order to develop a consensus on a new constitution, through the mechanisms of the Constitution Drafting Commission and the National Body.

Article 9: The membership of the National Body shall be revisited, within a period not to exceed fifteen (15) days to ensure fair representation of constituencies. The National Body shall prepare its rules of procedure through the committee established to undertake this task in accordance with the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

Article 10: The National Body, through its oversight of the Constitution Drafting Commission, shall, among other things, address the structure of the state in a manner that adheres to the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

Article 11: The government shall designate a committee with Ansarallah to develop an expedited implementation matrix to execute the outcomes of the Sa’ada Working Group of the National Dialogue Conference. The Government shall designate a similar committee, in agreement with all constituencies, including the Peaceful Southern Movement, to develop an expedited implementation matrix to execute the outcomes of the Southern Issues Working Group of the National Dialogue Conference.

Article 12: The outcomes of the Working Group on Building the Foundations for the Security and Military Institutions of the National Dialogue Conference shall be strictly implemented according to an agreed-upon timeline, with monitoring and follow-up by the National Body.

Article 13: The military and security situation in and the issues related to Amran, Al Jawf, Mareb, Sana’a and any other governorate shall be dealt with in the Annex.

Article 14: The political, public and media escalation shall end, and manifestations of the threat or use of force shall cease. This includes obliging State media and urging the private and partisan media to stop their inflammatory campaigns of a sectarian and regional nature.

Article 15: Following the signing of this Agreement, the announcement of the new fuel price and the announcement of the new Prime Minister, the camps in the vicinity of high security facilities, including Hezyaz, Al Sabaha and the airport, shall be dismantled and removed.

With the start of the formation of the new government, the camps established around the capital, Sana’a, as well as camps within the city limits, shall be dismantled and removed. Unofficial checkpoints in and around Sana’a shall also be dismantled.

Article 16: The Parties commit to resolve any disputes regarding this Agreement through direct dialogue, within the framework of the outcomes of the Comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, and to continue negotiations through a joint committee established with the support of the United Nations. This joint committee shall be the appropriate forum to raise any concerns related to the interpretation and implementation of this Agreement.

Article 17: The Parties request the Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Yemen to continue United Nations support for the implementation of the measures agreed upon in this Agreement. In this regard, the Parties request the Special Adviser to continue to monitor any violations.

SIGNATURES

ANNEX

The Military and Security Situation in and the issues related to Amran, Al Jawf, Mareb, Sana’a and any other governorate

Article 1: The Parties pledge to defuse all elements of political and security tensions, to resolve any conflict through dialogue, as well as to enable the State to fulfil its functions. All hostilities being conducted by all sides inside the capital, Sana’a, and its surroundings shall cease.

Article 2: The Parties reaffirm the need for the re-establishment of state authority and the restoration of control over all the territory in line with the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

Article 3: With the technical support of the United Nations, an agreement shall be reached on a mechanism for the implementation of the recommendations of the National Dialogue Conference relating to the “disarmament and recovery of State-owned heavy and medium weapons from all parties, groups and individuals that were plundered or seized nationwide, within a specific time frame and simultaneously.” The mechanism shall provide for the representation of all constituencies. No parties, groups or individuals shall be exempted from the work of the mechanism. The mechanism shall include a detailed plan and timeline for implementation, and in line with the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

Article 4: Regarding Amran, the new Prime Minister shall establish a joint committee, within five (5) days, mandated to normalise the situation, and to complete the organisation of the administrative, security and military authorities in a manner that achieves the establishment of state authority and that achieves security, stability and sustainable development.

The local officials in Amran shall fully carry out their responsibilities. The state military and security forces shall carry out their functions in ensuring security and stability in the governorate.

The joint committee shall be primarily responsible for the supervision and the implementation of this Agreement, including the withdrawal of all armed groups coming from outside Amran.

The Parties undertake to provide the joint committee, immediately on request, with all relevant information necessary for carrying out its duties.

The joint committee shall provide all necessary support and assistance to the local officials so that they may fully carry out their responsibilities, and shall ensure the principle of national partnership. The joint committee shall serve as a venue to discuss and resolve any barriers to the carrying out of those responsibilities.

Article 5: There shall be an immediate cessation of hostilities and a ceasefire in Al Jawf and Mareb. All armed groups coming from outside Al Jawf and Mareb shall withdraw, while simultaneously the administrative, security and military authorities are restructured.

A robust implementation and joint monitoring and verification committee shall be established by the Parties, with impartial participation. The details of the ceasefire and the joint mechanism, with a strict timeline, shall be established in a supplemental document. The new government shall be responsible for the organisation of the administrative, security and military authorities in Al Jawf and Mareb, in a manner that achieves the security, stability and national partnership. The state military and security forces shall carry out their functions in ensuring security and stability in the two governorates.

Article 6: The supplemental document shall include the following issues:

  • Principles governing the ceasefire;
  • Set of definitions in order to avoid confusion during the implementation of the ceasefire;
  • Identification of phases of implementation;
  • Creation of a joint monitoring and verification committee, joint monitoring and verification field teams, and joint technical monitoring and review teams;
  • Clear listing of acts that constitute ceasefire violations;
  • Clear timeline for implementation.

Article 7: The Parties commit to facilitate safe and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to reach people in need of humanitarian assistance. The Parties also commit to ensure the safety of civilians, including those receiving assistance, as well as the need to ensure the security of humanitarian personnel and United Nations and its associated personnel.

Article 8: The State shall undertake to protect the citizens in Al Beidha from Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and shall stand by them in facing the dangers posed by AQAP and terrorism.

Article 9: Normalisation in areas where camps were established after their removal. The establishment of military positions shall be prevented on the land vacated by the camps.

Article 10: The State shall commit to abolish any punitive administrative, financial or other measures on military personnel and civilians in the context of their participation in peaceful demonstrations, and their support, by peaceful means, of legitimate, popular demands.

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