Remarks With President of Yemen Abdo Rabbo Mansour Hadi Before Their Meeting

Press Release

By:  John Kerry
Date: July 29, 2013
Location: Washington, DC

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much. It's my great pleasure to welcome President Hadi of Yemen here this afternoon. Yemen has been going through an extraordinary transformation, moving towards democracy, and is working in comprehensive ways with the United States and others to transform its economy, to open up the opportunity for economic cooperation with the Gulf countries, and also to attract investment from abroad.

The President is leading a national dialogue. There are some 565 delegates who have come together -- it's unique in the history of Yemen, and they are from all diverse walks of life -- in an effort to help in this transformation. And we also have very significant security and humanitarian cooperation.

So it's my pleasure to welcome the President here to Washington. I look forward to a good discussion of the issues we just mentioned and some others. One of those others is the effort to close the Guantanamo detention center, and we are working with the Yemenis to develop a rehabilitation and re-education initiative in the country that will assist us in the effort to try to transfer some of the Yemenis.

So we're very grateful for the cooperation. The President just mentioned to me that he has fond memories of Cleveland. He's just come from Cleveland, Ohio. He had an operation there once upon a time a long time ago, and he's pleased to say that his heart is strong and he's grateful to the people in Cleveland for their help with respect to his personal health issues.

So welcome, Mr. President, and I'll let the translation take place.

Mr. President, would you like to say something?

PRESIDENT HADI: (Via interpreter) I'm very happy to actually visit the United States of America, particularly today in my visit to the Department of State. We in Yemen actually tell the reporters whenever they ask about Yemen -- they don't know where the location of Yemen is. Yemen, in fact, is in the south part of the Arabian Peninsula (inaudible) that connects the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea.

We in Yemen have actually been through some of the changes that came as part of the Arab Springs. We were on the verge of a civil war, but we were actually lucky enough to have the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its implementation mechanisms, so now we're actually going through a dialogue that includes all components of society, that will include the political parties, the youth, the women, with delegates of about 565, and they're discussing the new Yemen, the good governance, the justice, the equality, democracy, hopefully leading Yemen into a better future.

We actually had presidential -- consensual presidential elections last year, February last year, whereby (inaudible) was divided with the military or from security aspect of it. But voters nevertheless went through the trenches and the weapons because the Yemenis do seek peace in the country.

In Yemen, we're under and we're going through this dialogue hoping that it will produce elements that would lead Yemen into security and stability and more development in that, because -- so as to as to eliminate the poverty out of Yemen. And so but we still nevertheless need the assistance of the international organizations, the international community, in order for us to achieve democracy and good governance.

Presently, the majority of the Yemeni population -- 75 percent, to be specific -- are less than 45 years of age, the youth that without employment could actually pose a threat. So they need to have employment and live a lifestyle similar to the rest of the peoples of the world.

We hope that Yemen actually manages to reach the 21st century train station and not remain where it is.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you very much.