Thank you for convening todayís debate. Let me begin by congratulating the Kingdom of Morocco on assuming the Presidency of the Security Council for December 2012. We also commend the able manner in which India discharged its responsibilities as the Security Council President for the previous month.
We, also are grateful to Special Adviser of the Secretary General on Yemen, Dr. Jamal Benomer, for his briefing. We commend his work. We also welcome the participation of Ambassador Jamal Abdullah Al Sallal of Yemen in this meeting.
By avoiding a potentially devastating civil war, Yemen has shown to the world that dialogue and political will can lead to peaceful resolution of complicated issues. The Secretary General's good offices played an important role in this regard. We share the optimism he expressed during his recent visit to Sana'a, that Yemen will "overcome all its problems and hurdles" as it prepares for the 2014 presidential and parliamentary elections. The progress, however, does not obviate the need to keep challenges in sight.
Pakistan enjoys deep historical, cultural and religious ties with the people of Yemen. Peace, stability and prosperity of Yemen is dear to us. We hope that full implementation of the GCC initiative for transfer of power in Yemen would lead to normalization of conditions in the country. Continued support of the international community for this endeavour is crucial. This, however, does not mean that the international community should micro-manage Yemeni affairs. Respect for independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen should remain paramount in the Councilís deliberations on the issue.
We note with satisfaction that the Preparatory Committee of the National Dialogue has all but completed its work. We hope that it would now lead to the convening of an inclusive National Dialogue process and to timely conclusion of the transition process. We also welcome the formation of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendums.
It is heartening to note that the Government of Yemen remains committed to fighting terrorism. We fully support the efforts of President Hadi in this regard, and stand ready to provide any assistance that may be required. Pakistan strongly condemns terrorist attacks in Yemen. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of these heinous crimes. We remain concerned at sporadic violence that keeps cropping up. We strongly condemn the murder of a Saudi diplomat and his Yemeni bodyguard, and offer our sincere condolences to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Such dastardly acts should strengthen our resolve to combat terrorism and extremism.
We welcome the report that more than 80,000 internally displaced people have returned home in the last few months, the first significant decline in displacement since May of last year, when fighting between Government troops and militants erupted in the South of Yemen. This follows re-establishment of Government authority in the southern province of Abyan and improvement in security.
Statistics relating to the extent of the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, however, remain worrisome. With 83% of the children under five malnourished, 44.5% of the Yemeni population food-insecure, 50% of Yemenis without access to clean water and frequent outbreaks of diseases, the population awaits concrete dividends of transition.
Gaps in humanitarian response can undermine political transition, and mar long term prospects for peace and development. It is disconcerting to note that the UN Humanitarian Appeal for Yemen has only been funded around 50%. The international community must rise to the occasion, and do everything possible in this regard.
We once again reiterate Pakistan's unflinching support to the process of transition in Yemen and to the Government and people of Yemen as they go through this trying phase of their history. We are confident that the resilient people of Yemen would be able to surmount these obstacles and emerge stronger.
I thank you.