Washington DC - In an atmosphere of a high sense of responsibility toward the tragic war in Yemen as it enters its eighth year that has left more than half a million dead, wounded or disabled, and now lingers in a military and political stalemate and in light of the international community limiting its role to the occasional opening of an airport or seaport.
while about four million displaced Yemenis depend on humanitarian aid and twenty million live below the poverty line and a complete destruction of the country’s infrastructure and prior to that the Houthis intransigence and refusal to renew the truce and emerging signs of the desire to go back to fighting; and with the deviation of the Arab Coalition from its assigned mission to creation of militias, build cantons here and there, and turn militant leaders into state leaders, we have gathered in Washington D.C. in this conference co-hosted by the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, Tawakkul Karman Foundation, and Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), with the presence of the U.S. Envoy to Yemen, Timothy Lenderking.
-We, the participants of this conference titled "Towards Sustainable Peace and Democracy in Yemen," held at Georgetown University on January 9th, 2023, express our appreciation for holding this meeting, which allowed for a full open and free discussion of the political and humanitarian situation in Yemen. We express our deep thanks to the partners and friends who organized and participated in this conference and showed their solidarity with the Yemeni people, who have been suffering from extremely bad conditions for nearly eight years.
- We, the participants, affirm that reaching a true sustainable peace and democracy in Yemen requires the fulfillment of the following commitments by the local parties involved in this war and by regional actors, including the Arab Coalition ( Saudi Arabia and UAE), and the international community:
- We stress adherence to the unity of Yemen and its Republic system without abandoning sovereignty or abandoning the project of a federal, civil, and democratic state, as it was affirmed in the outcome of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference (NDC). We salute the efforts and the support of the international community for these rights as stipulated in the U.N. Security Council resolutions.
- We stress the urgent need to convene a Yemeni national conference that includes all Yemenis from across the board to produce a new Yemeni leadership that represents the interests of the Yemeni people consistent with the spirit of the Yemeni constitution and with a comprehensive national consensus to lead the next chapter of a peace process, and its right to have a federal civil democratic state that is governed by law and sets human rights, justice and equality as the foundation of the state. We call upon the international community to support this effort because the way the current leadership was formed and the mechanisms that were followed led the peace efforts undertaken by the U.N. and U.S. envoys into a near dead-end.
- We call on the Houthis to comply with the aspirations and hopes of the Yemenis for a comprehensive and sustainable peace based on the foundations that were defined in the draft of the federal state project establishing a federal, civil, democratic state that fulfills the interests of all Yemenis from Al-Mahra to Sa’ada and guarantees equal partnership for all Yemenis in power and in wealth. Houthi’s approval to stop the war and to engage in serious negotiations will be the shortest way to get the country out of a state war and transition into peace, as well as block any attempts to tear and fragment Yemen by any party.
- We affirm that disarming all militias and placing all forces within the Ministries of Defense and Interior is the best roadmap to get out of this fragmentation that is hindering peace.
- We stress the importance of the State as the only entity that has the exclusive right to own weapons. No political, sectarian, regional or tribal party has the right to continue to possess weapons, which threaten the survival of the state.
- Any future political settlement in Yemen must be based on what was agreed upon in the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC), which produced the draft constitution for a federal state before it was undermined by the coup and war. The political process should include all Yemenis without exception because departing from the NDC outcome document means returning to the causes of wars that tore Yemen apart for decades.
- The importance of having a clear path for transitional justice as one of the ways to eliminate the causes of war reproduction and the factors of disintegration that have eroded Yemen for decades.
- We stress that the call for peace must be accompanied by the call for an international conference for Yemen’s reconstruction as two tracks taking place at the same time and recognize that peace will bring with it an urgent economic restoration that will lift Yemenis out of hunger and poverty and rebuild what was destroyed by the war.
- We stress the priority of releasing all abductees and prisoners, and compensating and rehabilitating them by all sides, as well as shutting down all prisons and detention centers.
- We stress the importance of lifting all kinds of siege and blockades on the Republic of Yemen, both internally between the cities, imposed by the Houthis militia, and externally, imposed by the UAE and Saudi Arabia, including lifting the ban on exporting gas and oil derivatives.
- We stress the necessity of handing over the salaries of public employees.
- We stress that all foreign forces must leave Yemen and hand over seaports, islands and military bases to the Yemenis.
At the conclusion of the conference, we salute the struggles of Yemeni women, youth, students and people from all walks of life for their eagerness and effective contributions to break out from the destruction of war and transition into a comprehensive peace. We salute their steadfastness and patience for the hardships they have endured as a result of the war and its devastating consequences.