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Special Conversation with His Excellency Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, Former Foreign Minister of Yemen


Over the last five years, Yemen has faced numerous obstacles that have emerged as the contours of the country’s crisis evolved to include the competing interests and agendas of regional and international rivals who see the country as an arena for settling political differences. Today, as the war has entered its sixth-year, the 2018’s UN-led Stockholm Agreement offered glimpses of progress in reaching a negotiated political resolution between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, yet stumbled in the agreement’s implementation. The leadership of Yemen’s political factions continue to accuse opposing parties of continuing the war while refusing to reflect on their own contributions to the country’s fractured political landscape.

However, missed opportunities precede 2015 when the Saudi-led Arab coalition intervened on behalf of the government. Features of Yemen’s internal political crisis today are rooted in a history of disputes. Failures, such as ignoring the aspirations of Yemen’s youth following the 2011 revolution are among the key moments when political elites chose to pursue self-interested agendas harboring past grievances rather than look forward to a future. Yet, recent developments again may provide an opening for a political resolution. First, the backchannel between the Houthis and the Saudis, and most recently the announced ceasefire following the COVID-19 outbreak both can make  ground for the end of this conflict. But the question is whether UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths has the tools and support to address the issue and move forward with Resolution 2216. On the other hand, familiar complications of the resolution persist while the new dynamics of today’s war will likely require a revised version.

We are honored to host His Excellency Dr. Abu Bakr Al-Qirbi, Former Foreign Minister of the Republic of Yemen in a special conversation to address these points and explore how Yemen’s crisis has shifted since 2015 to become a conflict that Yemenis alone may not be expected to resolve, the role of the United Nations, the presence of international actors, and whether Yemen can afford another missed opportunity.

Gulf International Forum invites a discussion on how this war has changed Yemen and the Gulf region after five years of conflict.  What are the current positions of the different GCC states? What role can the US play to end this conflict? What will be the future of Yemen as division within the country is deeper than ever? Can Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Iran reach an agreement in Yemen to end this war? What other possible scenarios can lead to the end of this war?

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