Extending Truce ‘Best Opportunity’ for Peace in Yemen, Special Envoy Tells Security Council, as Speakers Urge Reopening of Roads, More Funding for Aid Operations – Yemen

SC/14964

International Community Must Pressure Houthi Militias to End
Daily Violations, Respect Truce Agreement, Permanent Representative Says

Buoyed by the endurance of a truce in Yemen that expires in three weeks, yet concerned with the country’s deepening humanitarian crisis, the United Nations top official for the country told the Security Council he would push to extend and bolster the truce as speakers stressed the importance of opening roads around the city of Taïz and ensuring adequate funding of United Nations humanitarian programmes.

“The truce represents the best opportunity for peace in Yemen in years and we should encourage and support the parties to make the most of this opportunity for the benefit of Yemen as a whole,” said Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen. Expanding the United Nations-brokered truce agreement between the Government of Yemen and Houthi rebels, which began on 2 April, would provide time and opportunity to start serious talks on the economy and security tracks; address priority issues, such as revenues and the payment of salaries; and begin the process towards a ceasefire.

The truce has allowed the continued flow of fuel products into the Hudaydah port, which, despite fuel price hikes, has helped avoid disruptions in essential public services, such as clean water, health care, electricity and transportation, he said. While commercial flights are now flying into and out of Sana’a international airport, many roads in Taïz remain closed.

While the truce has led to a sharp drop in civilian casualties, he said his office continues to receive reports about direct and indirect fire, drone attacks and reconnaissance overflights inside Yemen. Last week, he convened the third meeting of the Military Coordination Committee during which the parties discussed the formation of a Joint Coordination Room aimed at de-escalating incidents at the operational level.

Joyce Msuya, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the truce is a landmark step forward, but it is not enough to stop what the United Nations fears is coming. “Humanitarian needs across the country — including risk of famine in some areas — could rise sharply in the coming weeks and months. The international community must act quickly and decisively to stop this,” she urged.

Hunger is worse than ever, yet the World Food Programme (WFP) was forced to cut rations for millions of people several weeks ago as it and other aid agencies are dangerously underresourced, she said, adding: “The Yemen response plan has so far received just over $1.1 billion — or 27 per cent of what it needs. This is the sharpest year-on-year decrease of any United Nations-coordinated plan in the world”. The $3 billion economic support package announced by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, once disbursed, has the potential to stabilize the economic freefall that is fuelling the rise in hunger and other needs.

Council members welcomed the reduction in violence thanks to the truce, yet voiced concern over the plight of civilians and the continued closure of roads in Taïz obstructing the entry of vital humanitarian aid.

The representative of Norway said it is crucial at this fragile moment to build trust and work towards a framework for a multi-track peace process in Yemen aimed at further benefitting the Yemeni people, including the reopening of roads in and around Taïz, and welcomed the Special Envoy’s updated proposal in that regard. While the truce has positively impacted the everyday lives of civilians, the international community must not be complacent, she said, noting that according to the WFP more than 2 million Yemeni children under five years of age need treatment for acute malnutrition.

The representative of China, echoing the call to open the roads in Taïz as soon as possible, urged all donors to help bridge WFP’s funding shortfall. He also voiced concern about the FSO Safer in the Red Sea and called on the international community to support the United Nations fundraising campaign aimed at addressing the funding gap of $20 million to avert a major global environmental disaster.

Albania’s delegate said all parties must fully implement the truce and lead the country towards a nationwide ceasefire and permanent peace. Regretting that Taïz remains sieged and its people are suffering, he said if the Houthis believe in peace, they must do more, also calling on the group to immediately release all detainees.

The speaker for the United Arab Emirates, said the Houthi militia must stop their escalation, including launching drones and missiles at civilian areas, and realize that they cannot control and govern Yemen unlawfully. Measures to protect civilians must be prioritized, he said, commending the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre for removing nearly 350,000 explosive remnants of the war so far through the “Masam” project. Saudi Arabia’s announcement of a $400 million financial package for development projects falls under the $3 billion support from Saudi Arabia and his country, including $2 billion as a Saudi-Emirati deposit in the Central Bank of Yemen in Aden.

The representative of Yemen, welcoming the generous support by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, said that, to end the conflict and alleviate suffering, the Presidential Leadership Council and Yemeni Government have sought to support regional and international efforts to achieve a lasting, comprehensive peace. Despite the Houthi militia’s daily violations on all fronts, including the creation of new military sites, weapons trafficking and bombing of civilian and other areas, the Yemeni Government has demonstrated flexibility and has reacted favourably to all humanitarian actions. He pointed to the reopening of the Sana’a airport, the resumption of commercial flights and oil being brought into the Hudaydah port. All provisions of the truce must be implemented, including the lifting of the siege of Taïz before discussing any other issues, he said, also urging the international community to exert pressure on the Houthis to respond favourably to peace efforts, respect the truce, release detainees and end the recruitment of child soldiers.

Also speaking were representatives of the United Kingdom, United States, India, Gabon, Russian Federation, United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Mexico, France, Ireland and Brazil.

The meeting began at 10:01 a.m. and ended at 11:44 a.m.

Briefings

HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, noting that the truce expiration deadline is three weeks away, highlighted achievements in the last three and a half months of the truce and the way forward. He said civilian casualties are down two thirds compared with the three months before it began. Due to the sharp decline in hostilities, many casualties now stem from landmines and unexploded ordnances. Noting that his office continues to receive reports about alleged incidents inside Yemen — among then direct and indirect fire, drone attacks and reconnaissance overflights — he said that, last week, it convened the third meeting of the Military Coordination Committee during which the parties discussed the formation of a Joint Coordination Room that will be tasked with de-escalating incidents at the operational level and appointed a working group that started detailed technical discussions to consolidate proposals in that regard. The renewal of the truce has allowed the continued flow of fuel products into the Hudaydah port, he said, noting seven fuel ships carrying nearly 200,000 metric tons of food products have been cleared to enter the port.

While high fuel prices have chipped away at the benefit for Yemeni citizens, the flow of fuel imports has helped to avoid disruptions in essential public services that depend partly on fuel — such as clean water, health care, electricity and transportation — and has made a valuable difference to the daily lives and well-being of Yemenis. “The efforts to enhance the freedom of movement for men and women inside Yemen, as well as into and outside of Yemen, must continue,” he stressed. On freedom of movement inside the country, he said progress has allowed commercial flights to fly into and from Sana’a international airport. Since the start of the truce, 15 commercial round-trip flights have transported almost 7,000 passengers between Sana’a and Amman.

Yet, in Taïz, many roads remain closed for the seventh year in a row. “Opening roads is not only about easing humanitarian suffering and removing restrictions, it is also about beginning to normalize the conditions of everyday life for Yemeni men and women, including education, work, health services and the overall economy,” he said. Since his last briefing to the Council, he has engaged parties, including in Amman and during recent visits to Riyadh and Muscat, on a viable proposal to immediately open roads in Taïz and other governates. An updated proposal on the phased opening of roads was shared. Ansar Allah has since communicated they do not accept the latest proposal, he said, adding that he will continue efforts to reach a negotiated solution. There have been some unilateral actions to open roads, yet such actions could be a step in the right direction; agreement from both sides is important to ensure roads are opened safely and sustainably.

Stressing that the worrisome escalatory rhetoric in the past week by the parties questioning the benefits of the truce is a dangerous move, he said in the coming weeks he will continue to explore the possibility of a longer truce extension and an expanded truce agreement. This would provide time and the opportunity to start serious talks on the economy and security tracks, as well as address priority issues, such as revenues and the payment of salaries, and begin the process of moving towards a ceasefire. The participation of a broad array of Yemeni stakeholders is necessary, including women, youth and civil society, to ensure a sustainable political settlement that meets the legitimate aspirations and demands of Yemeni men and women. “The truce represents the best opportunity for peace in Yemen in years and we should encourage and support the parties to make the most of this opportunity for the benefit of Yemen as a whole,” he said.

JOYCE MSUYA, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator in the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the truce represents a landmark step forward, but it will not be enough to stop what the United Nations fears is coming. “Humanitarian needs across the country — including risk of famine in some areas — could rise sharply in the coming weeks and months. The international community must act quickly and decisively to stop this,” she urged. Action to protect Yemen’s economy from domestic challenges and from the impact of the war in Ukraine remains urgent, she added, noting that the exchange rate, which is a key factor in how much food people can afford to eat, is still collapsing. The Ukraine war is also threatening the supply chains that bring in Yemen’s food — nearly 90 per cent of which must be imported. The $3 billion economic support package announced by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, once disbursed, has the potential to stabilize the economic freefall that is fuelling a rise in hunger and other needs, while commercial wheat imports from India have emerged as a key supply line for Yemen. She called for the strengthening of Yemen’s economy more broadly, including through the United Nations economic framework.

Turning to aid workers, she said the situation they face is becoming more difficult and more dangerous. Intimidation and incitement against aid agencies has continued across Yemen and is being fuelled by misinformation amplified through social media, messaging applications and in some public forums. In Houthi-held areas, staff movements have also become more difficult in recent weeks due to bureaucratic impediments for Yemeni aid workers travelling abroad for professional reasons. Houthi authorities are also increasingly enforcing restrictions that curb women’s full participation in humanitarian action — both as aid workers and as aid recipients. Eight months after repeatedly promising their quick release, security officials in Sana’a continue to detain two United Nations staff members. Also, since the last briefing, there have been five more carjackings of aid agency vehicles, bringing the total to 18 carjackings since the beginning of the year. Noting the lack of progress in efforts to free the five United Nations staff who were kidnapped five months ago in Abyan, she called for the immediate release of all kidnapped aid workers in Yemen.

Underscoring that the biggest problem right now is funding, she said: “The Yemen response plan has so far received just over $1.1 billion — or 27 per cent of what it needs. This is the sharpest year-on-year decrease of any United Nations-coordinated plan in the world.” Aid agencies are dangerously underresourced and hunger is worse than ever, and yet the World Food Programme (WFP) was forced to cut rations for millions of people several weeks ago due to funding gaps. Noting that similar cuts across all sectors are sadly costing lives, she recounted the story of Raisa, a 32-year-old pregnant woman from Amran, who sought care at a health centre supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), but found doors locked due to cuts in operations, and ultimately died before she could reach a working hospital. Noting the vast hardships created by those cuts, she urged donors to increase support for the humanitarian response plan as much and as quickly as possible. Funds for other urgent priorities are also lacking, she stressed, pointing to the $20 million shortfall to resolve the threat from the Safer oil tanker and the $3.5 million needed to cover the operations of the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism from September until the end of the year.

She went on to say that discussions are under way, including meetings in Brussels several weeks ago between senior donor and agency officials, to take stock of the challenges facing the Yemen response. She voiced agreement with participants’ call for better access, more de-mining, better programme quality, closer monitoring of famine risk, more development support, and stronger advocacy, among other key objectives. Expressing hope that political and financial resources will be available to deliver on urgent needs, she said aid agencies’ independent evaluation of the humanitarian response in Yemen from 2015 to 2021 identifies serious shortcomings, including programme quality, data problems and more. “We are already working to address many of those issues and are eager to collaborate with all our partners — Yemeni and international — in doing so,” she said.

Statements

BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) welcomed the reduction in violence stemming from the truce and its significant impact on the lives of the Yemeni people. The multi‑track process outlined by the Special Envoy is working to secure a sustainable peace, progress is needed on many issues, including on the military and economic tracks and unblocking roads in other parts of Yemen. She welcomed the news that the Military Coordination Committee will convene monthly meetings to address key issues. Expressing concern about the humanitarian conditions in Yemen and the social and economic impacts of road closures around Taïz, she said it is crucial to open the main roads as soon as possible. Noting that landmines and unexploded ordnances are claiming many lives, including the lives of children, she called on all parties to support de-mining efforts. Pointing out that food insecurity is on the rise as commodity prices increase and food prices reach record highs, she called on all donors to ensure immediate funding for humanitarian needs. She also expressed worries about the threat caused by the Safer oil tanker and the shortfall in funding for the United Nations emergency operation, adding that the United Kingdom has pledged $5 million towards the plan. He said the best opportunity for peace in the country in years exists now.

DAI BING (China) said it is a matter of urgency to open the roads in Taïz as soon as possible. Extending the truce is the shared aspiration of the Yemeni people and the international community, expressing hope that all parties in Yemen will strengthen their political will, stay firmly on the course towards a political settlement, actively pursue an extension of the truce, and work together to seek a lasting solution. Noting the dire humanitarian situation in the country, he called on the international community to honour its commitments to assistance and increase its funding for the simultaneous improvement of the humanitarian and security situations. All parties in Yemen should cooperate and facilitate humanitarian access. Saudi Arabia’s planned investment of $400 million in development projects will help Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council in starting its economic recovery efforts.

RICHARD M. MILLS, JR. (United States), stressing the need to build on the progress achieved so far, which requires compromise by all parties, said the Council must urge them to choose peace over violence. Commending the Yemeni Government’s flexibility in encouraging flights into the country, he said there has not been the same action by the Houthis in Taïz and called on them to increased access to that city, a move which would enable tens of thousands of people see loved ones. Unblocking the roads will also help bring about a more durable peace agreement, he said, stressing that only a Yemeni-Yemeni settlement, which includes the participation of women, can bring about peace. He supported the efforts of the Special Envoy and regional players towards that end. He demanded that the Houthis unconditionally release people imprisoned in Sana’a and called on all parties to respect the humanitarian rights of all people. Donors must take action to avoid a catastrophic spill of the Safer oil tanker, he said, also calling on donors to fill the humanitarian funding gap to meet the needs of people in Yemen.

Mr. GUPTA (India) said that the low level of funding, unless reversed quickly, could lead to further cuts to humanitarian aid in Yemen and leave millions of Yemenis, especially children, without adequate food and nutrition. In order to mitigate the supply changes in the global commodity markets and their adverse impact on food security, his country has been providing financial assistance, as well as food grains to countries in need. It has exported more than 250,000 tons of wheat to Yemen, in the last three months. Noting that the ports in Hudaydah Governorate remain the main gateway for the flow of food and other essential commodities into Yemen, he said India supports a more effective mandate for the United Nations Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA), which will enable UNMHA to undertake monitoring missions to those ports and report on their possible use for military purposes. Noting that a sustainable solution to the humanitarian crisis lies in concrete economic measures that benefit the people of Yemen, he underscored the need to address the disruption in key segments of that country’s economy and its fragmentation. In that regard, the international community must support the Government of Yemen to help the country overcome those challenges.

ALLEGRA PAMELA R. BONGO (Gabon), voicing concern about the attacks and abductions of humanitarian workers in Yemen, called for the respect of international humanitarian law and the release of all United Nations employees that were abducted in February. A combination of security, economic and social factors — particularly currency depreciation, commodity-price inflation, lack of services and jobs, shortage of water and reduction of aid — compound food insecurity in Yemen, she said. Pointing out the link between armed conflict and food insecurity, she called for the international community’s international involvement to put an end to that situation. She went on to say that female humanitarian workers must be able to travel without a male escort, especially since that measure significantly hinders the distribution of aid in the country. Regarding the issue of the Safer oil tanker, she called for greater mobilization by the international community to avoid a major humanitarian disaster.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said a month has passed since the June extension of the truce, yet there has been no significant progress. The parties, in principle, can reach an agreement and he hoped trust can be restored. Noting efforts to open roads in Taïz have been stopped, he said that, while an overly tough position by the parties could lead the parties to accuse one another of obstructing peace, additional concessions would show their commitment to a long-term political settlement. The fact that the parties have refrained from hostilities and that dialogue is continuing is encouraging news, yet the peace process is fragile, he said, welcoming the work of the Military Coordination Committee to observe the terms of the truce with the involvement of all parties. He supported the Special Envoy’s efforts and urged all parties to get on board, expressing his delegation’s support in that regard and noting it continues to provide robust assistance to United Nations mediation efforts, including through contacts with all relevant parties. There is no other alternative to a comprehensive, inclusive inter-Yemeni dialogue. Concerned about the humanitarian situation, he said all restrictions on the delivery of necessary aid supplies must be lifted. Noting the truce expires this month, he supported its extension. The situation in Yemen has a direct impact on the situation in the Middle East, he observed, urging support for the Russian Concept of Collective Security in the Persian Gulf.

MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) said the Houthi militia must immediately lift restrictions on the movement in Taïz, while also demonstrating flexibility in all United Nations-led consultations. The Houthis must stop their escalation, including launching drones and missiles at civilian areas, and realize that they cannot control and govern Yemen unlawfully. Noting that measures to protect civilians must be prioritized, he commended the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre for removing nearly 350,000 explosive remnants of the war so far through the “Masam” project, adding that such humanitarian efforts help save countless lives at a time when the Houthi militias are ignoring the safety of the population and causing immense destruction throughout the country. Also, the situation of the Safer oil reservoir must be addressed urgently to avoid a serious environmental catastrophe. He welcomed Saudi Arabia’s announcement of a financial package for development projects valued at $400 million, noting that it falls under the $3 billion support from Saudi Arabia and his country, including $2 billion as a Saudi-Emirati deposit in the Central Bank of Yemen in Aden.

MICHAEL KAPKIAI KIBOINO (Kenya), noting the need for more pragmatic approaches to humanitarian action programmes, said intensifying efforts in various areas should be considered. They include: supporting the promotion of agriculture production, agro-livelihoods and food security to reduce the dependence of food imports; supporting the transition from humanitarian to development assistance to mitigate effects of humanitarian funding shortfalls; and increasing peacebuilding efforts to achieve sustainable peace that will foster an environment for Yemenis to engage in legitimate enterprises and meaningfully contribute to national development. He noted that, as Yemen is heavily dependent on imports, the work of the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen in facilitating the unimpeded flow of commercial items and vessels sailing into Hudaydah and Saleef ports is crucial to supporting the implementation of resolution 2216 (2015). Noting the funding challenges it faces, he called on the international community to generously contribute to the mission.

ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) recognized the Special Envoy’s efforts and the commitment reached during the third meeting of the Military Coordination Committee to maintain the truce in Yemen, yet expressed concern about the scarce progress regarding the blockade of the roads to Taïz, which was a main priority of the truce. She urged all parties to cooperate with the Special Envoy and called on them to stop using inflammatory language. She expressed concern about the lack of progress in providing funding to prevent an environmental, economic and humanitarian catastrophe due to the situation regarding the Safer oil tanker, and the lack of funding for the Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen, which guarantees the entry of food into a country that imports 95 per cent of its food and where most people are food insecure. The empowerment of women is essential to a lasting peace, she said, stressing that the country cannot move forward if half of its workforce is left behind. She urged all parties to give safe, full access to humanitarian workers and called for the immediate release of detained aid workers. She supported the extension of UNMHA’s mandate.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France) said that, despite the truce, the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains of great concern, stressing that full humanitarian access must be guaranteed. It is crucial to enable United Nations and humanitarian staff to travel safely, he said, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all United Nations staff detained by the Houthis. About the Safer oil tanker, he called on States and the private sector to contribute financially to the United Nations appeal, underscoring that there is no time to waste to avoid an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe. He went on to say that the truce is an excellent opportunity to make progress on the security, political and economic aspects of the strategic framework proposed by the United Nations. Beyond the discussions on Taïz, it is important for the Yemenis be able to have discussions about the future of their country. It is time to put an end to this conflict that has gone on for far too long, he stressed, noting that the international parameters, including the resolutions adopted by the Council, are well known.

MONA JUUL (Norway) said that at this fragile moment, it is crucial to continue efforts towards building trust and work towards a framework for a multi‑track peace process in Yemen. All achievements should be used to create further results for the Yemeni people, including the reopening of roads in and around Taïz, she said, welcoming the Special Envoy’s updated proposal on the phased opening of these roads. “The Yemeni people and civil society have made clear what their needs are. We urge both sides to show flexibility, and to turn their commitments into concrete action,” he said. Turning to the plight of children, she said the truce has had an immensely positive impact on their everyday lives of civilians, with a sense of hope for the future as child casualties drop significantly. Yet, the international community must not be complacent, she said, noting that WFP reports that more than 2 million Yemeni children under five years of age require treatment for acute malnutrition, with more than 500,000 at risk of dying without treatment. The action plan signed between Ansar Allah and the United Nations to end and prevent the recruitment or use of children in armed conflict; killing or maiming of children; and attacks on schools and hospitals, is an encouraging step and must be urgently implemented. She underlined the importance of identifying and releasing children from within their ranks. She called on all parties to swiftly and fully implement the recommendations and conclusions of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) said it is regrettable that the right of civilians in Taïz and other governorates to move freely in a safe, secure manner is still being curtailed by the continued blockade of the roads. In that regard, the parties must follow through on their commitment under the terms of the truce to meet under the aegis of the United Nations without further delay to agree on modalities for the reopening of all roads under blockade, and thus help ease the suffering of the affected people. Noting that the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains severe, he called on all donors to help bridge the funding shortfall of the WFP so it can offer needed assistance to the people of Yemen. Voicing concern about the FSO Safer in the Red Sea, he called on the international community to support the United Nations fundraising campaign aimed at addressing the funding gap of $20 million to avert a major global environmental disaster. Noting the important role of UNMHA in the peace process in Yemen, he called on the conflicting parties in that country to honour their obligations under the terms of the truce to help consolidate it, and to take advantage of the opportunity offered by the cease-fire to work towards a comprehensive and a durable political solution for the benefit of the Yemeni people.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), noting the benefits of the United Nations mediated truce are being felt across Yemen and the region — including the cessation of cross-border attacks and air strikes, a significant increase of fuel imports and the resumption of flights in and out of Sana’a — said it is time all actors strengthen their commitment to the truce. The third meeting of the Military Coordination Committee in Amman last week created optimism, she said, welcoming the Yemeni Government’s flexibility and constructive approach on key issues. It is past time for the Houthis to prove they are serious about long-term peace, she said. While the truce has led to significantly decreased levels of violence, the security situation remains concerning. The instability in Yemen is linked to the precarious economic situation and dire living conditions faced by many Yemenis. The humanitarian crisis continues to deteriorate even with the respite offered by the truce, she said, pointing out that about 19 million people are expected to face food insecurity in the next six months. Against the backdrop of a critically underfunded humanitarian response plan, the additional cuts to food aid announced recently by the WFP are deeply troubling, as this will impact millions of Yemenis. Only a political solution can end the conflict and durably resolve the humanitarian crisis, she stressed.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said parties must fully implement the truce and lead the country towards a nation-wide ceasefire and permanent peace. Voicing regret that Taïz remains sieged, and its people continue to suffer, he said that if the Houthis believe in peace, they must do more, concretely and genuinely. He welcomed the third Military Coordination Committee meeting and the parties’ engagement in freezing their current military positions on the ground, on moderating their rhetoric in public statements and media, and the focus on protecting civilian children, women and men, as well as civilian infrastructure. He noted that those achievements could not happen without the support of the regional actors, Saudi Arabia and Oman, and also commended Saudi Arabia’s and the United Arab Emirates’ huge economic and financial support, adding that such support must be accompanied with sound, credible and inclusive reforms and policies. He called for the immediate release of all detainees held by the Houthis, as well as the release of United Nations, staff of non-governmental organizations, and other civilians who have been abducted by armed groups or forcibly disappeared.

PAULA BARBOZA (Brazil), Council President for July, speaking in her national capacity, and noting that the truce has entered a third month, said the Yemeni people were able to celebrate Eid al-Adha last Friday for the first time in seven years without fear. This is the longest respite the Yemenis have had from the fighting since 2014. Yet the truce will not hold if it is not fully implemented. There has been progress regarding many provisions of the truce, including the return of civilian flights in the north. Reopening the roads in Taïz is among the missing links, she said, urging the Houthis to fully commit to opening the roads to civilian traffic. The truce is the first building block in a constructing a permanent ceasefire and sustainable peace. The truce has reduced civilian casualties, yet the basic needs of the Yemenis are not being met. The international community must work to close the funding gap. If not, the Council will keep meeting only to hear that various United Nations agencies have reduce or closed down another programme. The Yemeni economy also needs the conditions to recover, including regular fuel imports, increased mobility of people and goods, foreign financial aid and respect for the military truce. As the Council prepares to renew the mandate of UNMHA, it is important to recognize the Mission’s valuable work in stabilizing the vital Red Sea coast of Yemen.

ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said Yemeni people continue to suffer the economic and humanitarian impact as a result of the Houthi militia’s continued war and escalation of violence causing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, as well as an enormous economic crisis. To bring an end to the conflict and alleviate suffering, the Presidential Leadership Council and Yemeni Government have sought to support regional and international efforts to achieve a lasting and comprehensive peace. Despite daily violations of the truce perpetrated by the Houthi militia on all fronts, including the creation of new military sites, weapons trafficking, and bombing of civilian and other areas, the Yemeni Government has demonstrated flexibility and has reacted favourably to all humanitarian actions, he said, pointing to the reopening of Sana’a airport, the resumption of commercial flights and oil being brought into the Hudaydah port.

All provisions of the truce must be implemented, including the lifting of the siege of Taïz before discussing any other issues, he stressed, noting that the Houthi militia have not renewed the negotiations on Taïz for some six weeks and are not cooperating on opening the main roads. He called on the international community and the Council to respond quickly, exert pressure on the Houthi militia supported by Iran to respond favourably to efforts for peace and respect for the truce. He also called for the opening of roads to Taïz and for the release of detainees. About the economy, he said his Government is seeking to promote economic stability and development and adopt programs to support economic recovery. He welcomed the generous support by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, in particular the allocation of $3.3 million to the Central Bank of Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s programme for the development and construction of Yemen.

He went on to say that humanitarian organizations in areas controlled by Houthis are encountering obstacles, noting that the Houthi militia is also banning Yemeni people from getting aid, targeting children to join their ranks. They continue to recruit thousands of children, some not even 15 years old, while the truce is in place, brainwashing them with extremist ideas that glorify death and martyrdom, he said, warning that that could lead to a new escalation of violence. “The international community is staying silent on this,” he underscored, pointing to the huge danger faced by Yemeni children and destabilization of the country and the entire region. Turning to the Safer oil tanker, he said reports indicate that the Houthi militia is placing maritime mines, including in areas around the oil tanker. He urged the Council and the international community to exert pressure on the Houthis to respect the emergency operation and called for additional financing to complete the funding plan.

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