SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON YEMEN
The members of the Security Council reiterated that only an inclusive political solution can end the conflict in Yemen and emphasised their steadfast support for UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. They urged the parties to urgently endorse the UN-facilitated Joint Declaration proposals without delay in order to achieve an inclusive and sustainable peace. They stressed the need for urgent agreement to the Joint Declaration to enable negotiation of a comprehensive transitional agreement to end the conflict where power is shared among diverse political and social components. They underlined the importance of an inclusive political process allowing for the full and effective participation of women and youth. They called for the swift resumption of talks between the parties, in full engagement with the mediation led by the UN Special Envoy. They reiterated their commitment to an inclusive Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political process as set out in the relevant United Nations resolutions, including resolution 2216 (2015), as well as by the Gulf Cooperation Council initiative and its implementation mechanism and the outcome of the National Dialogue Conference. They reaffirmed the international community’s firm commitment to uphold Yemen’s sovereignty, unity, independence, and territorial integrity.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the announcement on 28 July of renewed implementation of the Riyadh Agreement and the mediation led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in this regard. They called on the Yemeni Government and Southern Transitional Council to fully implement the Riyadh Agreement urgently.
The members of the Security Council welcomed the agreement by the parties on 27 September to release 1,081 prisoners, an important step in the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement and an important confidence-building measure. They welcomed the flights on 15 and 16 October, stressed the importance of continued implementation, and welcomed the parties’ commitment to continue further negotiations on the implementation of the Prisoner Exchange Agreement and urged them to quickly reconvene in that regard.
The members of the Security Council stressed the need for de-escalation across Yemen and a nationwide ceasefire, and called for implementation of the Secretary General’s Global Ceasefire call as detailed in resolution 2532 (2020), as well as his 25 March call for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Yemen. They condemned the escalation on Marib for putting residents and internally displaced persons at grave risk and threatening to derail the UN peace process. They emphasised concern about continuing violence in the Yemen conflict, and strongly condemned the continuation of Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia, which pose a serious threat to regional security. They also condemned the recent military escalation in Hudaydah governorate, viewing it as a violation of the Hudaydah Agreement and warning that it risks jeopardising the peace process. They called for an immediate stop to the fighting and for engagement with UNMHA’s joint implementation mechanisms. They also reiterated the importance of full compliance with the Security Council’s targeted arms embargo on Yemen.
The members of the Security Council reiterated the need for parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law including those related to humanitarian access and the protection of civilian objects and civilians, and the protection of humanitarian and health personnel and their facilities. They reiterated the need to protect children and women against all forms of violence. They underlined the need for parties to prevent human rights violations and grave abuses.
The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern that famine is a realistic prospect in Yemen this year in the event of prolonged disruption to food imports or hindrances to distribution, or continued economic collapse, exacerbated by the outbreak of Covid-19 and locust infestations. Addressing the drivers of food insecurity including ceasing conflict and ensuring unhindered access for humanitarian supplies and personnel would help alleviate the suffering of the Yemeni people. They urged donors who have made significant contributions in the past to increase humanitarian assistance to the UN-led response now, and to ensure the quick disbursement of commitments once made. They also noted the role that all donors, including new and small, need to play in improving the humanitarian situation by lending their voices to advocacy and funding humanitarian partners on the ground. They noted the central role of economic collapse in intensifying the risk of famine and urged Yemen’s partners to consider all possible measures to strengthen the economy, including regular foreign exchange injections into the Central Bank and steps to encourage robust flows of critical commercial imports through all of Yemen’s ports.
The members of the Security Council highlighted the obstruction and interference with humanitarian assistance operations. While they took note of initial steps taken by the Houthis to address these problems, greater progress overall is imperative for enabling humanitarian organisations to continue delivering life-saving assistance to millions of vulnerable people throughout Yemen. They called on all the Yemeni parties to facilitate full, safe, and unhindered humanitarian access to all the people in need.
The members of the Security Council further recognised the grave threat posed by the Safer oil tanker, whose dire and dilapidated condition risks an environmental, economic and humanitarian catastrophe to Yemen and the region, and called on the Houthis to urgently facilitate unconditional and safe access for UN experts to conduct an assessment and repair mission, as mutually negotiated in principle between the Houthis and UNOPS. They welcomed the recent contributions made by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, and France, and the mobilisation of the Peace Support Facility.
16 October 2020