UN Security Council Briefing and Consultations on the Middle East (Yemen)
I thank you, Mr. President for giving me the floor
At the outset let me thank Special Envoy Hans Grunberg and OCHA Director of Operations and Advocacy, Ghada El Tahir Mudawi, for their briefings. As Ghana reiterates its endorsement of the actions taken by the parties in renewing the two months truce since 2nd August 2022, we are encouraged by the parties’ resolve to deepen their negotiations to reach an expanded truce and believe that an expanded truce, if carried through, would mark a turning point in the history of the seven-year conflict. We therefore reiterate our call on the parties to seize this favourable moment and give peace a chance by considering the proposals for expanded truce of the UN Special Envoy, which has the potential of being transformed into a nationwide ceasefire to create the needed environment for the resumption of the Yemeni-led political process under the aegis of the UN.
We commend the Special Envoy and the entire UN team as well as all other stakeholders involved in the negotiating process for their tireless efforts and encourage the further work required to bring peace, security and development to Yemen. In this regard, we urge the Special Envoy and his team not to relent in their efforts but to continue to be resolute in their pursuit and focused on the requirement of peace for the benefit of all Yemenis. We stress the importance of the full, effective and meaningful participation of Yemeni women in all stages of the peace process and applaud their longdemonstrated willingness and capacity to engage in communal and national efforts aimed at resolving the conflict.
The benefits of the truce are manifestly visible for all to see. Thanks to the truce, 26 fuel ships carrying about 720,270 metric tonnes of fuel derivatives entered Hudaydah port in less than four months compared to 470,000 metric tons for the whole of 2021. Also, thanks to the truce, as of 21st July this year, flights operated between Sana’a and Amman and one between Sana’a and Cairo, transported over 8,000 passengers. Above all, the truce resulted in as much as 60% decrease in civilian casualties. These statistics are worth highlighting to remind the parties about the endless opportunities that await the people of Yemen, should they maintain the choice for constructive and good faith engagement in the UN facilitated negotiations towards the resolution of the conflict. It is in this context we remain concerned that the people in Taiz and other governorates are not being made to enjoy the full benefits of the truce as their right to free movement is still being curtailed by the continued blockage of the roads in the city. This unfortunate development has brought immense suffering and hardship to the people of Taiz and the affected governorates. It is incumbent on the parties to follow through their commitment under the terms of the truce to meet without further delay, under the auspices of the UN, on the modalities for the re-opening of all roads under blockage.
We note that notwithstanding the general lull in military activities by the warring factions inside Yemen and across its borders, there was a reported attack that injured eleven boys and girls in Taiz on 24th July this year. We condemn in no uncertain terms such attacks and call on the perpetrators to desist from such actions as they have the tendency to undermine the truce and reverse the marginal progress being made.
Even as we observe significant reduction in civilian casualties since the beginning of the truce, the humanitarian situation in Yemen continues to remain severe. According to the World Food Programme, about 17.4 million Yemenis are food insecure and the number is projected to rise to 19 million by the end of the year. Sadly, the plight of the affected population is exacerbated by the current global rise in food prices. We call for the sustained support of donors to help shore up and bridge the funding gap of the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan to ensure continued assistance in required quantities to the people in need. Also, the high risk of catastrophic oil spillage from the FSO Safer in the Red Sea and the likelihood of a major humanitarian and ecological disaster stemming from such a spillage remains a matter of grave concern to us. We acknowledge ongoing international efforts that have mobilized about $65million for the first phase of the operation estimated to cost about $80 million.
We call on the international community to support the UN fundraising campaign aimed at addressing the threat, to avert a major ecological and environmental disaster with global consequences. Failure to do so in good time, as has been pointed out, will in addition to the environmental damage that may be caused by a spillage from the tanker,require much more funds to cleanup than the current amount being sought. In conclusion, we call on the conflicting parties in Yemen to fully honour their obligations under the terms of the truce and to double their efforts towards agreement on the expanded truce proposal of the UN Special Envoy for the benefit of the Yemeni people.
I thank you