UN Special Envoy’s remarks at the Yemen International Forum

Hans Grundberg UN Special Envoy for Yemen

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg remarks at the Yemen International Forum (Photo: Sana'a Center for Strategic Studies)

18 Jun 2022

UN Special Envoy’s remarks at the Yemen International Forum

Dear colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be here with you in Stockholm today. I am especially pleased to see so many Yemeni friends here. 

Allow me to start by thanking the organizers, Sana’a Center and the Folke Bernadotte Academy. They wanted to create a space to elevate Yemeni voices; and this gathering marks the culmination of their hard work. I deeply believe in the need to bring politics back to Yemen and in the need to bring Yemenis together to define their own political future. This is something my office has been working on over the last few months and conferences like this are critical in expanding the possibilities for exchange.

I know this event has been planned for a long time, but it happens at a particularly auspicious moment. A moment of opportunity that few would have anticipated. 

For the first time since the beginning of this conflict, we have seen a tangible shift in the trajectory of the war. In April the warring parties agreed to cease offensive military operations for two months in addition to a series of humanitarian and economic measures. At the beginning of this month, they extended their commitment for another two months. This is a commitment to you. This gives the population a much-needed sense of respite and restores a sense of hope that this war can come to an end.

As I told the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday, the UN-brokered truce is holding. It is fragile, and it is far from perfect, but it is holding. Given what Yemen has been through over the past seven years, this delicate situation is something we need to protect and to consolidate. The parties have been meeting face to face under UN auspices for the first time in years. Some of you perhaps traveled here on one of the first commercial flights from Sana’a. These are important, first and symbolic steps in a direction towards something I hope will become normal.  I want to see this continue. The pathway to peace in Yemen will take investment and determination, it starts with normalizing meeting the other, normalizing dialogue and normalizing calm in daily life. 

We all know this is not an easy task. We all know the challenges and the hurdles. As I have said before, temporary solutions can, at best, only provide temporary relief. They will not produce sustainable peace. Immediate needs and priorities must ultimately be addressed within the context of a broader political process that gears toward a comprehensive settlement. I want to avoid a situation whereby the parties condition progress and limit it to addressing only their own interests. Other voices need to be heard. 

My approach is well known by now: a UN-led multi-track process that addresses the priorities of the warring parties within the context of a wider Yemeni-informed agenda. . I am grateful to many of the Yemeni women and men here who have already participated in the consultations I have been holding to inform and build this process. I am also pleased to have with me here today some of my team, colleagues who represent each of the three tracks of our political, security and economic work.

I welcome the possibility that forums such as this provide for informal conversations. The topics you will be grappling with over the next three days are central to making sustainable peace possible.

You have the support of the international community. This is necessary but not sufficient. Yemenis and Yemeni leaders from across the country need to decide to give peace a serious chance, they need to envisage what that peace will look like, and the steps – and compromises -- that need to be taken to get there. My Office and the United Nations are here to listen to you and to support you in exploring this possibility for peace.  

Thank you.