Yemen has experienced great instability since the peaceful uprising in 2011. Following the negotiated departure of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in November 2011, Yemen began a political transition process, “National Dialogue”, which was completed in January 2014, but which did not prevent the deterioration of the security situation.

In summer 2014, the Houthis, due to an alliance of convenience with former President Saleh, took control of Sana’a, forcing the transitional President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, to flee the capital. On 25 March 2015, following a call from President Hadi for a military operation in Yemen, Riyadh launched “Operation Decisive Storm”, followed by “Operation Restoring Hope” in the form of a coalition of Sunni countries led by Saudi Arabia, with the aim of repelling the Houti militia. After 22 months of conflict, the ground combat and strikes by the coalition are continuing in the western province of Yemen.

Yemen is unique in the Arabian peninsula, in that it is the only Republican regime, but also its poorest and one of its most populous countries (population 26.8 million).

France and Yemen

State of our bilateral relationship with Yemen

France was one of the first countries to speak out in favour of the departure of President Saleh and to support the CCASG plan signed on 23 November 2011 in coordination with the EU and the United States. France supported the adoption of UN Security Council resolutions 2014 and 2051 asking the former President to engage in a political transition immediately on the basis of the CCASG plan. To further the political transition, France appointed a constitutional expert to assist the Yemeni authorities in preparing and drafting the new constitution.

France, together with the United States and the United Kingdom, sponsored resolution 2216(2016), adopted on 14 April 2016 by the UN Security Council, underpinning the need to swiftly resume dialogue seeking an inclusive political solution in a context where the Houthi rebellion continues to destabilize the country.

The last official visit to Yemen was made by Bernard Kouchner on 21 February 2009. He met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Abu Bakr al-Qirbi and President Ali Abdulla Saleh. The last visits from Yemeni officials to Paris were those of the former Minister of Oil and Minerals in February 2012 (the first member of the transition Government to meet with Alain Juppé), that of President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi, who met with President Hollande on 4 October 2012, and that of Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad Yassine, who met with Laurent Fabius in July 2015.

As far as the economy is concerned, Total, spearhead of the Yemen LNG liquefied natural gas project consortium (the largest industrial project ever in Yemen), is the number one investor in the country (total investments of €6.2 billion in oil exploitation and gas liquefaction in the Yemen LNG consortium).

Due to the worsening security situation, the Embassy of France in Yemen was temporarily closed in February 2015 and transferred to Riyadh.

Updated: 3 March 2017