The A3 Statement on Briefing and Consultation on the Middle East




Mr. President,
I have the honour to deliver this statement on behalf of the members of the A3 comprising Gabon, Mozambique and my own country Ghana. We thank Special Envoy Hans Grundberg and USG Martin Griffiths for their briefings and welcome the participation of the representative of the Republic of Yemen in this meeting. Since this is the first joint statement of the A3 on Yemen, we avail this opportunity to encourage the continuing efforts of the Special Envoy to bring the Yemeni people around the concept of an inclusive Yemeni-led peace that delivers security, stability and prosperity to all Yemenis. In respect of the political processes, we are encouraged that the elements of the expired Truce continue to hold, affording the people of Yemen the rare opportunity to enjoy the longest period of relative calm since 2015. We encourage the parties to seize this period of tranquility to advance engagements that could lead to a national dialogue in addressing the crisis in Yemen.


We believe the people of Yemen deserve more and, accordingly, welcome the parties’ continuing engagements with regional stakeholders and the Special Envoy to renew and expand the Truce, particularly the efforts that involve local solutions to local problems. We pledge our support for every effort that will help restore lasting peace in Yemen. We encourage the parties, especially the Houthis to engage constructively with the government in good faith, driven solely by the best interest of the people of Yemen. We therefore welcome the commencement of the seventh meeting of the Supervisory Committee on the Implementation of the Detainees’ Exchange Agreement last week in Geneva. It is an important confidence building measure by the parties that we hope would lead to an agreement on the release of all detainees in fulfilment of their obligation under the Stockholm Agreement. The release of detainees will give hope and help ease the pain of the many Yemeni families who have been waiting anxiously to know the fate of their loved ones.


Mr. President,
While there has not been any major military escalation, we remain concerned about the risk from ongoing limited military activity along frontlines in Ma’rib, Saidi, Hodeidah and Lahj governorates. We renew our appeal to the parties to continue to adhere to the elements of the UN brokered Truce and to stave off any action that might potentially unravel the fragile security situation in the country.


Mr. President,
Addressing the high humanitarian needs of Yemen remains of utmost importance and must continue to engage the attention of the international community. The scale of the humanitarian challenge faced by Yemen is daunting. Two-thirds of Yemen’s population — some 21.6 million people — still depend on outside aid, and more than 2 million Yemeni children suffer from acute malnutrition. Despite the soaring levels of hunger and poverty, funding shortages in recent years have forced the UN to scale back or cut half of its programs, including emergency food assistance. The A3 thus welcomes the generous pledges made by donors last month in Geneva, at the High-Level Pledging Event for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen, amounting to about 1.2 billion US Dollars to support the humanitarian relief efforts in the country. As we laud this resource mobilization effort, we note with concern that it falls far below the target of 4.3 billion US Dollars and corresponds to just 28% of what the UN said was required to prevent the further deterioration of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen. We make an urgent appeal to the donor community to shore up support to help bridge the funding gap and ensure that every Yemeni in need of support receives it.


It is regrettable that notwithstanding this Council’s repeated appeals to the parties, constraints in access continue to be a major barrier to efficient and effective delivery of aid in Yemen. Imposition of administrative and bureaucratic impediments on the operations of humanitarian agencies, including restrictions on movements of female staff, affect delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to segments of the Yemeni society. We are particularly concerned about the persistence of Maharam obligation imposed on female humanitarian staff which requires them to be accompanied by male guardians in certain areas. Such restrictions have a negative impact on the work of humanitarian workers and hinder access to aid. It bears repeating that the parties have an obligation to grant unimpeded access for delivery of humanitarian aid to all those in need under international humanitarian law and international human rights law.


On a broader scale, we are concerned about the recurrence of various violations of women’s rights, particularly about their fundamental rights of movement, expression, work and access to health, as well as protection from gender-based violence. Supporting Yemen’s weak economy should remain a key part of the international community’s efforts to improve the humanitarian situation in the country. Improvement in the socio-economic condition in the country will help reduce dependence on humanitarian aid. On this note, we welcome the decision of the Yemeni government to allow commercial imports into the Red Sea Ports as it will further boost the economy of the country. We reiterate our call for international support for Yemen’s economy as part of the efforts to improve the living conditions of the people.


Mr. President,
The risk posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war in Yemen, remains high. One of the consequences of the reduction in hostilities appears to be the high incidence of landmine explosions as civilian activities and movements have increased. As we call for increased international action to deal with the issue, we appeal for greater local support in the country to curb the menace. In addition to ensuring civilian safety, increased demining efforts will be needed to help free up affected agricultural lands for food production and facilitate an early economic recovery of the country. In recent times childhood vaccines have become the subject of misinformation and disinformation in parts of Yemen threatening to undermine people’s confidence in vaccines and their willingness to vaccinate their children. We deplore such propaganda against time tested vaccines that have protected children all over the world from preventable diseases like tetanus, polio, meningitis and measles, among others. We call on those spreading the falsehood to desist from the act and urge the Yemeni government to intensify its campaign against the spread of such malicious information.


On the issue of the FSO Safer oil vessel off the Red Sea coast of Yemen, we welcome the acquisition of a Crude Carrier by the UN, as an initial step towards transferring the oil from the decaying vessel and look forward to its speedy arrival in Yemen. We urge the parties to allow the salvage operation to go ahead unhindered. We commend the UN and all stakeholders who have brought us thus far and note the shortfall of about 34 million US Dollars still required for the emergency phase of the operation to commence. The potential environmental and humanitarian damage and the resultant cost of clean-up of about 20 billion Dollars, far outweigh the funding gap being sought. It is therefore in the collective interest of the international community to raise the remaining amount as soon as practicable before the arrival of the vessel in Yemen in May this year.


In conclusion, the A3 underscore the need for the parties to prioritize the interest of the people of Yemen over and above any other interest. The solution to the crisis in Yemen is political, so we encourage the parties to negotiate directly in good faith and urge them to refrain from any provocations that could lead to an escalation of violence. The parties must continue to make concessions, strive to find common ground to renew and extend the truce agreement, and ultimately find a lasting and comprehensive solution to the crisis.


I thank you for your attention.