Analyst: Brussels reconciliation deal “useless”

Published on 6 November 2014 in News
Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki (author)

Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki


SANA’A, Nov. 4—A number of Yemen’s political factions and representatives from civil society organizations met in Brussels between Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 to sign the Brussels Declaration for National Reconciliation. The agreement is claimed to serve as a guide to help dictate Yemen’s transition that began Sept. 21, the day Sana’a fell under Houthi control.

The conference was sponsored by the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), in conjunction with the National Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development in Yemen.

The agreement was signed by representatives from the General People’s Congress (GPC), the Islah Party, the Houthis, and the Southern Movement, in addition to representatives from the National Democratic Coalition, the Rashad Party, civil society institutions, human rights organizations, and a number of businessmen.

A joint statement by the representatives was published on Monday night by the state-run Saba News Agency. The statement said that the conference sought to pave the way for the implementation of the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) outcomes and the Peace and National Partnership Agreement, in addition to creating a framework to end all armed conflicts, prepare for a referendum on the constitution, hold parliamentary and presidential elections, and work to improve federal state infrastructure.

It called on the GCC states, the Friends of Yemen, and the international community to support national reconciliation, affirming the importance of preserving the National Solidarity Front to Combat Terrorism and Destruction, a national unity organization made up of prominent political and social figures established in August of this year.

Loai Deeb, founder of the GNRD, has been the subject of some controversy after being accused of founding a fake university, known as the “Scandinavian University,” in 2007. Despite claiming to employ nearly 500 professors and lecturers, according to official Norwegian records, the university employed no staff at all. Its headquarters were registered as being in a single one-story building in which Deeb himself also lived. The GNRD has also been accused of having close links with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), ranking the small Gulf nation 14th in its international league of human rights, in contrast to the US State Department and Human Rights Watch, which have placed the country much lower in similar rankings.

Sheikh Ahmed Saleh Al-Essi, who is the current Chairman of the National Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development, one of the co-sponsors of the event, and the former head of the Yemeni Football Federation, has also been accused domestically of being involved in corruption in Yemen and personally siphoning off some of the country’s oil wealth.  

“The Brussels agreement is worthless in terms of its substance and content, which is identical to that seen in the NDC agreement,” said political analyst Yasin Al-Tamimi, who works for the state-run Saba News Agency.

He stated that “only the government would implement the NDC agreement. That being said, I’m not sure what the point of the Brussels meeting was. It contributed nothing to the Yemeni reconciliation process. We as a country didn’t benefit from this meeting, which was in itself a lie, aimed at diverting attention away from achieving justice, removing armed men from the streets, and forming a new government.”