Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Yemen
Statement11 July 2022
Thank you President, and my thanks also to our briefers this morning, Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, and ASG Msuya.
The benefits of the UN mediated truce are being felt across Yemen and the region: in the cessation of cross-border attacks and airstrikes, the significant increase of fuel imports, and the resumption of flights in and out of Sana’a. And as the special envoy has said, the very welcome reduction in civilian casualties over the past three months.
Now is the time to push forward and for all actors to strengthen their commitment to the truce. The third meeting of the Military Coordination Committee in Amman last week is a reason for optimism. The parties sitting together is undoubtedly the best way to build much-needed confidence.
The flexibility and constructive approach shown by the Government of Yemen on key issues has been very welcome. It is now past time for the Houthis to step up and to prove to the people of Yemen that they are serious about long-term peace by engaging with the UN and their current proposal to find agreement on re-opening roads in Taiz and other governorates. In addition to dramatically alleviating the suffering of Taiz residents, this would be a meaningful step towards translating the truce into a durable ceasefire and an inclusive, Yemeni-led and –owned, UN-supported political settlement.
Although the truce has led to significantly decreased levels of violence, the security situation remains concerning. We are alarmed by a recent spate of attacks carried out in Aden, and insecurity in the south more broadly. We call on all parties to fully respect their commitments under the truce and to avoid escalatory rhetoric.
We utterly condemn the killing of journalist Saber al-Haidari on 15 June after an improvised explosive device was planted in his car. We express our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. And this follows the tragic killing of pregnant journalist Rasha Abdullah Al Harazi in Aden in November last year.
As we said during our Arria-Formula meeting on the Protection of Journalists in May, “we need journalists to shine a light on the truth”, including in Yemen. They are integral to sustainable peace and must be protected. We call for an investigation into these brutal attacks and for those responsible to be held accountable.
The concerning rise in physical and online attacks against INGOs and UN agencies is also very worrying and hinders crucial humanitarian work. We reiterate that these must cease immediately.
We recognize that instability in Yemen is also linked to the precarious economic situation and dire living conditions faced by many Yemenis, with the humanitarian crisis continuing to deteriorate even with the respite offered by the truce.
In total, an estimated 19 million people are expected to face food insecurity in the next six months. Against that backdrop, a critically underfunded humanitarian response plan, and the additional cuts to food aid announced recently by the World Food Programme are deeply troubling, and will impact Yemenis in their millions. As we have heard from ASG Msuya today, considerable international assistance is required to save lives in Yemen, now more than ever.
To conclude, President,
Only a political solution can bring this conflict to an end, and durably resolve the humanitarian crisis. We call once again on the parties to show a genuine commitment to ending Yemenis’ suffering. During this holy time of Eid-Al Adha, we ask the parties not to let this precious opportunity for peace pass them by.
Finally, we look forward to the renewal of UNMHA’s mandate later this week and express our appreciation to the Mission and to Major General Beary for his leadership. Thank you.