Yemeni civil society “is counting on support from Italy and other European countries so that the transition can truly respond to the people’s desire for democracy”. Speaking was Minister Giulio Terzi at the end of a meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Rome with the Yemeni activist Tawakkol Karman, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
Terzi pointed out that the transition process in Yemen is making good progress, with the important landmark of the presidential elections of 21 February. And today, added the Minister, Mrs Karman had told him once again that “Yemeni civil society, with its women and young people, is committed to supporting the transition to achieve a political, non-violent, solution. And to achieve this it is counting on the support of Europe and of Italy”.
Mrs. Karman underscored that the aspiration of the young people of the Arab Spring is to establish a true political partnership, at both the political and development levels, with Italy: a great country with a great history and a great people”. As for Yemen, she reiterated that the young people want to see President Ali Abdallah Saleh handed over to the International Criminal Court and that his assets frozen. She said that the Yemeni people were willing to accept the acting President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. On condition, however, that he “recognises the young people’s revolution and opens up a transition process based on the protection of human rights, justice, reconciliation and equity”.
The Nobel Prize Winner also asked Italy for help for the Syrian opposition. Minister Terzi stressed that he firmly opposed the Russian-Chinese veto on the Arab League plan at the UN Security Council. He added that “to bring an end to this horrendous massacre, strict implementation of the sanctions and firm international isolation of the Assad regime” were needed.
Tawakkol Karman’s visit to Italy also coincided with the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. FMG is “one of the most terrible scourges affecting women not just in Africa and Asia, but now in Europe and in Italy too”, noted Terzi. The Minister underscored the Italian Government’s committed efforts in the UN to prohibit this “horrific scourge” and “raise the awareness of all the countries and communities involved so that they can free themselves of this practice”.