Yemeni Nobel Prize Winner Says Government On Track to Equality

In a recent interview, Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Abdul Salam Karman said she is satisfied with the performance of President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi during Yemen’s traditional period. She stressed the need for unity, saying that she supports federalism and that there is a place in the country for everyone. 

al-monitor Nobel Peace Prize laureate Tawakul Karman shows her inked thumb after casting her vote at a polling station in Sanaa February 21, 2012.  Photo by REUTERS.

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nobel prize, democracy, yemen, tawakul karman, sanaa, saleh, arab spring, arab

Sep 7, 2012

Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakul Abdul Salam Karman said that the Gulf initiative is not a compromise, but rather a transitional political process that was produced by the peaceful and popular youth revolution and will continue until it achieves all of its goals. She added that Yemen is moving toward the future, toward building a civil state that is based on equal citizenship, where everyone is entitled to rights, freedoms, a decent life and fair and equal national partnership. It will be a state where all of its children live as citizens and not as foreign nationals, as partners and not as followers.

In a long and comprehensive dialogue with 26 September, a Yemeni newspaper that is a mouthpiece of the armed forces, Karman asserted that she is satisfied with the performance of President Abed Rabbo Mansur Hadi, who is leading the most important period of deep change and who is always striving for more. She added that it was the revolutionary movements and the youth struggle that brought Hadi to his post, to lead the transitional phase according to the will of the revolution that was confirmed by more than seven million Yemeni votes.

Karman stressed the need to end divisions between the army and security forces and to unify them, so that they are made subject to authority of the president and the government. She said it is important to reconsider whether the government is able to perform its functions, as it lacks of consistency. Karman called on Hadi to either replace ministers who obstruct the government’s performance or to bring in an entirely new government that is able to work with him in harmony in order to manage the transitional phase. She also stressed the need to meet economic challenges and said that it is necessary that donors and countries sponsoring the Gulf initiative fulfill their commitments related to the economic progress of Yemen.

Karman noted that Yemeni unity was a popular demand, a dream for Yemenis in both the north and the south of the country. This dream was achieved spontaneously, and not in a manner with an institutional basis that preserves partnership and the rights of both parties unified in the new state.

Karman also spoke about the issue of the south, saying that, “My ethical and moral opinion, which I do not hesitate to express or defend, is that I support our brethren in the south and their desire to achieve a just solution to this issue. I will support any such solution.”

She said that she supports federalism as an idea, solution and strategic project for Yemen, adding that federalism would be in this case applied to all Yemeni governorates. Some of these governorates would be merged in a unified regional territory if they desired to be so. 

Regarding the Houthis, Karman said that they are dealing with the group as a national force and a partner in the revolution, adding that they will be working within the national partnership to rebuild Yemen. She continued that there are problems raised by the Houthis’ weapons stores, especially given the six wars that have been fought in Saada. She said that the upcoming national conference will address the issue of arms outside the state and that she does not think that the Houthis and other armed Yemeni groups will reject this discussion.

Karman asserted that there is a place in the country for everyone. She added that the abundance of movements — some of them known and others not — which in the framework of acceptance, partnership and coexistence, will work hard to advance their country; this is their destiny. Diversity, pluralism, partnership and cooperation are the principles of national partnership, she added.

As for terrorism, she said that terror has no place in Yemen. The Yemeni people, under the popular revolution and transitional institutions, will guarantee a final and viable solution to effectively combat terrorism.

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