UN Security Council Briefing and Consultations on the Middle East (Yemen)
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 OCHA Director of Operations and Advocacy Ms. Edem Wosornu, for their briefings.
The A3 welcomes the climate of optimism that has been built in recent times by key stakeholders in finding a lasting solution to the Yemeni conflict, including the engagement between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Houthis as well as the intermediary role being played by the Sultanate of Oman. We believe that these engagements remain essential and any attempt by any party to reverse the marginal progress being made will be counterproductive and must not be countenanced. We therefore affirm our support for such regional-led efforts, which we consider as indispensable in addressing the crises sustainably.
As A3, we hold that a Yemeni-owned and -led political process lie at the heart of a sustainable resolution of the crises. We therefore encourage support from the international community for such processes in a manner that enhances the trust and confidence required to consolidate the gains made in the peaceful resolution of this protracted conflict. We consider it useful and encourage the Special Envoy’s determination to work closely with regional and Yemeni stakeholders to ensure that the Omani-facilitated talks feed into UN mediation efforts for an intra-Yemeni political process on a future political, economic and security governance.
We underscore the importance of leveraging the release plan reached between the Yemeni government and the Houthis, which led to the liberation of about 900 conflict-related detainees last month. We encourage the parties to continue with efforts for further releases, as this symbolic gesture can help build bridges and enhance confidence-building among the parties to address other aspects of the crises. We continue to appreciate the invaluable contribution of all stakeholders, especially the International Committee of the Red Cross.
In charting the path towards sustainable peace in Yemen, it is essential for all the parties to deepen their commitment to sustain a formal and nationwide ceasefire, and afford the people of Yemen the opportunity to ultimately own their political future.
Furthermore, we urge the prioritization of inclusivity by harnessing the potential of women in the political processes for the attainment of durable peace in the country. We commend the Special Envoy for his commitment to engaging with actors in a manner that enhances the meaningful participation of women in the peace process and welcome more of such support.
Despite the modest gains being made, we remain concerned with persisting challenges including the continued closure of the roads leading to Taiz and the challenges with the payment of public employees in Houthi controlled territory. In this regard, we call on the parties to prioritize the interest of Yemeni people and demonstrate their full commitment to the peace process to preserve the fragile security situation in the country.
The deteriorating humanitarian situation with an estimated 21.6 million people in need of aid is worrying. Today, only 11 million people have access to aid per month. It is therefore crucial for challenges that undermine relief efforts including access restraints and interferences in humanitarian activities to be tackled as a matter of urgency. We are grateful for the generosity of donors and encourage them and the wider international community to consider increasing funding support to the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Yemen, to enable it meet the $4.3 billion target required to help address the humanitarian needs of the people. We reiterate our call on all parties to facilitate the safe, rapid, and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief to all civilians in need and to protect humanitarian personnel and assets in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law. In a related matter, we express concern about the enforcement of mahram over the past year, requiring women to be accompanied by male guardians in areas controlled by the Houthis. In this regard, we renew our demand on the Houthis to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.
The risk posed by landmines and explosive remnants of the war in Yemen leading to civilian casualties is also of great concern and require urgent action in addressing it. We therefore call for effective international and local collaboration to comprehensively deal with the land mines and explosive issues. Undoubtedly, a robust Yemeni economy is part of the bigger picture needed to address the deteriorating humanitarian situation and, every effort must be made to sustain the peace in Yemen in order to facilitate an environment that can unlock improvements in the socio-economic conditions of the country. On this note, we renew our appeal to the international community to dovetail support for the country’s economy into every effort aimed at alleviating the suffering of the Yemeni people.
On the issue of the FSO Safer oil vessel, we encourage close monitoring of the evolution of the rescue operation, especially in its first phase, and hope for greater financial mobilization to cover the two phases of this operation. We encourage all the parties to cooperate with the United Nations for a safe and quick transfer of the oil from the decaying vessel into the newly acquired carrier.
Finally, the A3 affirm support for the on-going engagement between the Saudis and the Houthis and believe that they can lead to fruitful proposals that all the parties can embrace towards attainment of lasting peace in Yemen. While calling for the demonstration of good faith commitment by all the parties, we also believe meaningful progress can be made in the on-going talks if consideration is given to a number of factors, including the establishment of a ceasefire and the payment of public employees in Houthi territory, possibly through the oil and gas revenues. It will also be useful to relaunch broader talks among Yemeni parties to foster an inclusive process aimed at ironing out all grievances for meaningful progress to be made. Women should not be left out of this process.
In concluding, we re-emphasize the point that an inclusive Yemeni political process facilitated by UN mediation remains critical in resolving the conflict in a sustainable manner. The continuous demonstration of a united voice by this Council towards the resolution of the crises in Yemen remains paramount and should be guarded jealously to consolidate the gains made.
I thank you