Russia welcomes Yemen power transfer deal

Russia has welcomed the plan for a peaceful transition of power in Yemen, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said on 24 November. "The agreements reached through international mediation are an important landmark towards reaching national reconciliation in friendly Yemen. The fact that the incumbent authorities and the opposition managed to reach agreement in the interests of saving civic peace and securing a democratic future for the country is of principal importance.

"In our view, it is quite important not to lose sight of the need to reform the Yemeni society, while focusing on the transfer of power. The country needs serious democratic reforms, deep economic changes, which would lay a reliable foundation for the future and sustainable progression towards national peace and accord. At the same time, the need to provide an efficient external contribution to gradually overcoming the political crisis in the Republic of Yemen is still relevant. Russia, in accordance with the CCASG [Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf], being a witness to the process of a peaceful transfer of power in Yemen, will continue to support international efforts aimed at the implementation of this goal," the Foreign Ministry statement said.

The Russian president’s special envoy for Africa, Mikhail Margelov, has also expressed the hope that the transfer of power would prevent Yemen from sliding into chaos, as reported by Interfax on 24 November.

"Yemen is probably the most radicalised Middle East country, with strict traditions of eliminating power-wielding rivals. The transfer of power by the Yemeni president brings hope that this country, located close to oil-producing Saudi Arabia, will not explode after all," Margelov said.

According to the envoy, "the population of Yemen is, if not to the full but to a sufficient extent, armed to settle old scores and is being supplied with weapons incessantly". However, Margelov assumed that the Yemeni leader could be spared the fate of Saddam Hussein and Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi thanks to the decision to step down. "It is early to forecast further developments in Yemen but it seems there is already a rule in place, according to which ‘the Arab Spring’ inevitably leads to ‘the Autumn of the Patriarch’," Margelov added.

Sources: Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, Moscow, in Russian 24 Nov 11; Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0906 gmt 24 Nov 11

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