Statement by the UN Special Envoy for Yemen
Amman, 29 March 2020 - The UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, is alarmed by the continuation and escalation of ground and aerial military activities in Yemen, in particular in and around Ma’rib governorate and the attacks against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia claimed by Ansar Allah. He reiterates the Secretary-General's call for an immediate cessation of hostilities to build a conducive environment for achieving a nation-wide ceasefire.
“I am gravely dismayed and disappointed by these actions at a time when the Yemeni public’s demands for peace are unanimous and louder than ever before. Yemen needs its leaders to focus every minute of their time on averting and mitigating the potentially disastrous consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak,” Mr. Griffiths said.
Mr. Griffiths reiterated that indiscriminate attacks affecting civilians or civilian targets, whether inside or outside of Yemen, are unlawful and reprehensible.
Mr. Griffiths emphasized that the recent uptick in fighting runs counter to the stated commitments of all involved in the conflict to work on a ceasefire and their positive responses among diverse groups of Yemenis to the call by the UN Secretary-General to end the fighting in Yemen.
“In wars, the windows to build unity and find common grounds between fighting parties are rare and precarious. There are always those who will do their best to spoil such opportunities. We cannot let them win. I am constantly in touch with the parties, urging them to be more attuned to this moment’s great potential and grave risks and discuss the way forward soonest under the auspices of my office”. Mr. Griffiths stressed, “I hope the peace advocates on either side of the conflict will not allow this window to close without making real progress”.
Mr. Griffiths further expressed his gratitude for the outspoken support for an immediate ceasefire in Yemen in recent days by Yemeni political leaders, tribal chiefs and civil society groups including women and youth, as well as regional and international stakeholders.
“Our work with the parties to launch a formal ceasefire process is ongoing. We remain hopeful that all involved in the conflict will come to the table and put Yemenis and their best interest first,” Mr. Griffiths said.