The UN Special Envoy for Yemen addresses the media during his visit to Ma'rib


7 Mar 2020

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen addresses the media during his visit to Ma'rib

I am going to speak in English, and I want to make sure, with your help, that I speak very accurately and carefully because this is a very important day for me to be here in Marib with the governor. I’m very pleased to be here. And I want to be very clear with you the reason for this visit.

Yemen is, in my view, at a critical juncture: we will either silence the guns and resume the political process, or we will slip back into large-scale conflict and suffering that you have already seen here in Marib.

Since the conflict erupted, and we’ve been discussing this today, Marib has been a haven for hundreds of thousands of Yemenis displaced, both inside the governorate and from elsewhere in Yemen. Marib has been an island of relative stability and calm amid the insanity of the war. Just last week, thousands of families arrived here fleeing fighting in Al Jawf. The parties need to ensure that Marib will remain a haven and not become the next epicenter of the fighting and of the war.

Fighting needs to stop now. Military adventurism and the quest for territorial gains are futile. They will only drag Yemen to many more years of conflict. This is not a war that can be won on the battlefield, and the years of this war have shown us that. Yemenis deserve, you deserve, much better than living in a state of perpetual war. There is no alternative, none at all, to a negotiated solution based on an early resumption of the political process, and it’s my task to guide with the help of the parties in Yemen.

I am here on a one-day visit, thanks very much to the welcome of the governor and his officials who I already met. I’m here to meet with local authorities, tribal chiefs, civil society, women and youth as well as displaced Yemenis to listen to their concerns and to make sure through you that world hears them through me. I want to assure them that I and my office are committed, passionate, about making the parties reduce the tempo of war and alleviate the suffering of the people of this country. 

Last week I issued a public call for a freeze on military activities. Today, I am reiterating that call for an immediate and unconditional freeze and the start of a comprehensive and inclusive and accountable de-escalation process. Now is the time, it is already the time for the parties to work with me and my office to achieve this. The initial positive responses which I received, from the parties, from Ansar Allah, from the Government of Yemen. These initial informal responses which were positive must now turn into immediate action on the ground. Yemen simply cannot wait.