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STOCKHOLM, Sweden — The opening session of the Yemen International Forum, organized by the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies and the Folke Bernadotte Academy, kicked off in Stockholm today, June 17, 2022, with Sweden’s foreign minister and the UN special envoy to Yemen urging participants to take advantage of the current truce to overcome obstacles that will allow peacemaking processes in Yemen to move forward.

Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy to Yemen, noted that Yemen has long stood out from other countries in the region because of its culture of dynamic political debate. He urged the more than 200 delegates to work toward restoring that.

“One of the most important costs of this war is the killing of the political debate, which has to come back to the floor and to Yemen,” Grundberg said, urging delegates to engage seriously and “bring politics back — and bring the discussions back about the future of Yemen.”

Grundberg also told participants that the UN-mediated truce in Yemen that began in April is fragile and far from perfect, but holding, much to many people’s surprise. These gains, he said, must be protected and consolidated.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde spoke of the opportunity available to Yemeni forum participants to further peace efforts and offered advice to her international colleagues: “Let us use these days to listen, learn and let the Yemeni-led discussions inform our support going forward.”

Ambassadors from the permanent member countries of the United Nations Security Council as well as representatives of the Gulf Cooperation Council and other segments of the international community will join the discussion at the forum. Political actors, experts and representatives of a host of Yemeni civil society organizations are among the Yemeni participants tackling these urgent issues facing Yemen, aiming to promote healthy dialogue, exchange ideas, discuss policies and present viable recommendations.

Yemen International Forum discussions revolve around the challenges as well as the opportunities for a political settlement, economic priorities, security-sector reform, governance and the meaningful inclusion of women in peacemaking. Forum sessions also will explore local perspectives on opportunities to overcome obstacles on the way to an enduring peace in Yemen.

“The political responsibility, the responsibility of assuring Yemen moves forward to safer shores, is a responsibility we all share,” Sana’a Center chairman Farea al-Muslimi told more than 200 Yemeni and international participants at the start of the three-day forum.

The Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies is an independent think-tank that seeks to foster change through knowledge production with a focus on Yemen and the surrounding region. The Center’s publications and programs, offered in Arabic and English, cover political, social, economic and security developments, aiming to impact policy locally, regionally and internationally.

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