Yemen

Encouraged by Truce Extension in Yemen, Special Envoy Highlights Goal of Expanded Accord Leading to Durable Ceasefire, as He Briefs Security Council

SC/15000

9110TH MEETING (AM)

Encouraged by the extension of a truce in Yemen until 2 October, the United Nations top official for the country told the Security Council today that he aims for an expanded agreement that would lead to a durable ceasefire and resumption of a Yemeni-led political process as speakers voiced their concerns about the ongoing humanitarian crises and the blocking of roads to Taiz.

“We all need to remind ourselves that failure to reach an agreement to extend the truce would lead to renewed cycles of escalation and violence, with predictable and devastating consequences for Yemen’s population. Yemen urgently needs to avoid this scenario,” said Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, calling on the parties to “make the choice to build the necessary confidence to avoid a return to war and to begin to build a lasting peace”.

After four and a half months, he said the truce — which was extended two weeks ago — is holding broadly in military terms, fuel products are flowing through the port of Hudaydah, and passenger and commercial flights are being transported through Sana’a international airport. Despite a significant decline in civilian casualties, the increase in children killed — which now make up about 40 per cent of reported civilian deaths due to the war — is worrisome. He said his efforts focus primarily on opening roads in Taiz and other governorates — essential for the people of Taiz, the wider population and the economy. Thanking the Council and the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Oman for their support, he said the international community has a joint responsibility to help Yemen take decisive steps toward peace and he is counting on its backing to implement, extend and expand the truce. “We need to end the conflict, not merely manage it,” he said.

Ghada Mudawi, Acting Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said she hoped the truce extension would lead to an expanded agreement and rapid progress in reopening roads around Taiz, putting an end to the movement restrictions long suffered by civilians and aid workers. Despite decreased fighting, more than 150 civilians have been killed since the truce began and the international community must be clear-eyed on its limitations, she said, stressing that the truce alone cannot be expected to resolve the humanitarian crisis, including the risk of famine threatening some areas.

Pointing to major economic challenges, including an exchange rate worse than before the truce and a precarious food supply chain, she said in July commercial food imports — a lifeline for feeding the population — fell for the fourth month in a row. And while aid agencies reach 11 million people across the country every month, they often face serious constraints and dangerous working conditions. Having received an additional $431 million from the United States, the United Nations response plan in Yemen is now 41 per cent funded, leading to increased food provisions, yet funding gaps in water, sanitation and shelter remain a challenge. Voicing ongoing concern over the humanitarian outlook, she called for strengthening the economy, and support for the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen, humanitarian access and closing funding gaps to prevent further catastrophe and reduce suffering.

Council members welcomed the two-month extension of the truce, yet echoed the Special Envoy’s concerns over the ongoing humanitarian crisis, including food insecurity, and the blockades of roads in Taiz, urging a return to dialogue to broker a lasting, peaceful settlement of the conflict. Several condemned the 23 July shelling in Taiz which killed a child and injured 10 more.

The representative of France urged the parties to hold in-depth discussions, under United Nations auspices, stressing that a vital political agreement is the only way to end the conflict. Gravely concerned by the dire security and humanitarian situation, she called for full humanitarian access to all people in need and the immediate unconditional release of United Nations and aid personnel detained by the Houthis.

Kenya’s delegate cautioned against using the truce as an opportunity to reconfigure or strengthen military postures to influence future negotiations, calling for genuine efforts to create a foundation for lasting peace. The truce alone is not enough to address the humanitarian crisis. Pragmatic approaches that can adequately equip humanitarian action programmes with necessary resources are key. Meanwhile, national and local actors in Yemen must give aid workers unhindered access, in line with international humanitarian law, he said, stressing that intimidation and incitement against aid agencies must stop.

The speaker for Brazil said the truce must be expanded to address issues, such as the regular payment of government salaries, as the Special Envoy helps parties reach a comprehensive and sustainable political settlement. The meaningful participation of all groups in Yemeni society, including people with disabilities, youth and women, is vital for the peace process. While humanitarian assistance is fundamental, it cannot be sustained without progress towards economic stability, he said, urging the parties to refrain from measures that might deepen economic fragmentation and to work towards re-establishing national economic institutions and structures.

The United Arab Emirates’ representative said extending the truce offers the Houthis an opportunity to cooperate with international efforts to reach a permanent solution and end their daily violations of the truce in the governorates of Hudaydah, Taiz, Al-Dhalea, Hajjah, Saada, Al-Jawf, and Marib. He noted that the Presidential Leadership Council’s efforts to preserve the truce and its gains have helped reduce violence and alleviate human suffering, and that his Government and partners, especially Saudi Arabia, are providing economic and humanitarian support to Yemen in various fields.

On that point, the representative of Yemen highlighted that the Presidential Leadership Council is working on reforms to manage resources and enhance assistance from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to support citizens and promote law enforcement. Committed to the truce, the Government of Yemen will continue to work towards a comprehensive ceasefire to end the conflict and alleviate the humanitarian crisis. However, Houthi militias have proven they are not serious and are reneging on their truce commitments, laying siege to cities — including Taiz, where the lives of 4 million people are threatened — and looting incomes. How many civilians must die before the war is ended and their crimes are held accountable, he asked, calling on the Council to review how it deals with Houthi militias and bring real pressure to bear on them.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Ghana, Russian Federation, India, United States, Albania, Mexico, Gabon, Ireland, Norway and China.

The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:42 a.m.

Briefings

HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said two weeks ago the parties agreed to extend the truce in Yemen, under the same terms, for another two months until 2 October. This allows the longest pause in fighting, since the war began, to continue as the benefits of the humanitarian and economic measures in the truce agreement unfold. Along with the truce extension, the parties committed themselves to use the next two months to negotiate and reach, by 2 October, an expanded truce agreement, which would include additional elements to improve the daily lives of Yemeni men and women and take steps to end the conflict. “We all need to remind ourselves that failure to reach an agreement to extend the truce would lead to renewed cycles of escalation and violence, with predictable and devastating consequences for Yemen’s population. Yemen urgently needs to avoid this scenario,” he said, calling on the parties to “make the choice to build the necessary confidence to avoid a return to war and to begin to build a lasting peace”.

After four and a half months, “the truce continues to broadly hold in military terms and there have been no major military operations or changes to frontlines,” he said. There is a significant decline in civilian casualties. The first week of August marked the lowest civilian casualty count since the start of the truce and since the beginning of the war. However, a worrying development is the increase in child casualties, which now make up about 40 per cent of reported civilian casualties. “I condemn all such acts of violence. Civilians must be protected at all costs,” he said. The Military Coordination Committee is an important outcome of the truce and its fourth meeting is expected to take place during the last week of August in Amman.

He said road openings in Taiz and other governorates are the primary focus of his efforts. Several proposals, with different sets of roads and sequencing options, have been presented to the parties. Yet there has not been more progress achieved on road openings to date. For the people of Taiz, the wider population and the economy, the parties must agree on opening roads as soon as possible. The flow of fuel imports to Hudaydah port continues with the extension of the truce. Since it began, 33 ships were cleared to enter Hudaydah port, bringing in almost 1 million metric tons of various fuel products. Another key element of the current truce agreement, which improves the lives of Yemeni men and women, is the opening of Sana’a international airport to commercial flights. Over 15,000 passengers have been transported through 31 round-trip flights to and from the airport.

The proposal for an expanded truce accord includes an agreement on a transparent and effective disbursement mechanism for the regular payment of civil servant salaries and civilian pensions; the opening of additional roads in Taiz and other governorates; additional destinations to and from Sana’a international airport; and the regular flow of fuel to Hudaydah port. He called on the parties to demonstrate flexibility and respond positively if he asks them to convene to reach agreement. During the next weeks, he will count on the international community’s support to implement, extend and expand the truce. He thanked the Security Council and the Governments of Saudi Arabia and Oman for their support. The international community has a joint responsibility to help Yemen and its population take decisive steps towards peace. “We need to end the conflict, not merely manage it,” he said.

GHADA MUDAWI, Acting Director, Operations and Advocacy Division, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, welcomed the extension of the truce, hopefully leading to an expanded agreement, and rapid progress in reopening roads around Taiz, where people and humanitarian actors have for years suffered intolerable movement constraints. While fighting has decreased since April, it has never stopped entirely, as on 23 July shelling in Taiz killed a child and injured 10 more. Over 150 civilians have been killed since the truce began, and the international community must be clear-eyed on its limitations. The truce alone cannot be expected to resolve the humanitarian crisis, including the risk of famine threatening some areas.

On the economy, major challenges exist, with the exchange rate now worse than before the truce. All its immediate gains were short-lived, with fewer people able to buy food and other essentials — almost all of which must be imported. The food supply chain remains precarious, she stressed, as in July, commercial food imports fell for the fourth month in a row, coming in 30 per cent below the 12-month average — all of which are inspected by the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen. In July, she noted Hudaydah brought in about 60 per cent of all food imports and about 50 per cent of fuel imports. “Commercial imports are a security lifeline,” she stressed, and the United Nations has oft stated its commitment to facilitating them through all ports. However, the Mechanism will likely have to stop work in a few weeks, needing $3.5 million to pay for operations through December — a small amount given the impact in enabling the private sector to bring in food and fuel to help millions of people survive. If the Mechanism’s operation is allowed to lapse, it is difficult to predict the consequences for commercial imports, she stressed.

Aid agencies continue to reach 11 million people across the country every month, but often face serious constraints. While appreciating Government efforts to address their security, she noted in recent weeks, incitement against them on social media and otherwise has also decreased. Discussions of women’s participation are ongoing. Despite those positive steps, aid work remains more dangerous than it should, with 532 incidents in the second quarter — an improvement over the first quarter, but equivalent to six per day, mostly due to movement restrictions. She cited carjackings over the past two weeks, with Houthis still detaining two United Nations staff they promised to release November, and five staff abducted in February still missing. She called for their immediate release.

On funding, she cited some good news, including the United States’ allocation of an additional $431 million to the United Nations response plan in Yemen, bringing the total response plan this year to over $1 billion — making it by far the largest donor, increasing World Food Programme (WFP) food provisions. The response plan is now 41 per cent funded, she noted, but funding gaps in water, sanitation and shelter remain a challenge, with flooding affecting 200,000 people, and aid agencies only able to help 30,000 of them. Contributions regarding the SAFER oil tanker were $5.4 million over the past month, bringing total contributions to $63 million — but $144 million is needed to facilitate the operation. She voiced ongoing concern over the humanitarian outlook for Yemen, calling for strengthening the economy, support for the Mechanism, humanitarian access and closing funding gaps. Member States can prevent further catastrophe and reduce suffering.

Statements

JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) noted fuel prices for ordinary Yemenis have been seriously eased thanks to the delivery of 720,000 metric tons of oil to Hudaydah Port during the last four months, with Yemenis accorded renewed freedom of movement thanks to the 27 commercial round-trip flights out of Sana’a. However, he urged the parties to continue their constructive engagement with the Special Envoy and abide by their commitments. Only peace will solve the humanitarian crisis, which remains stark: rising global commodity prices and a dearth of humanitarian funding has meant continued suffering. WFP analysis in June showed some of the highest levels of inadequate food consumption ever recorded in the country, while in this cycle, lack of funding will lead to 3 million fewer Yemenis receiving the rations they need, with the funding deficit undermining the humanitarian response. Without further disbursement of funds from donors, the crisis will only deepen and undermine the benefits of the truce. Indeed, without humanitarian access, no amount of funding can serve those in need, he said. The people of Yemen deserve to live peacefully, without the looming threat of famine. While welcoming the progress associated with the truce, he said the threat of a spill from the SAFER tanker continues to loom over Yemen and the region. Action must be immediate, as non-intervention will result in environmental and humanitarian catastrophe. While announcing on 18 July a further £2 million pledge, he urged colleagues to urgently bridge the £20 million gap and commit funding immediately before it is too late.

CAROLYN ABENA ANIMA OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana) said she was encouraged by the results to reach an expanded truce, which marks a turning point in the conflict. She urged the parties to give peace a chance and consider the Special Envoy’s proposals and Special Envoy to focus on a peace that benefits all Yemenis. Efforts to negotiate peace should include Yemeni women. The benefits of the truce are evident. Twenty-six fuel ships, carrying about 720,270 metric tons of fuel derivatives, have entered the Hudaydah port in less than four months, compared to 470,000 metric tons for all of 2021. Flights have operated between Sana’a and Amman and one between Sana’a and Cairo. There has been a 60 per cent decrease in civilian casualties. These statistics remind the parties of the endless opportunities of a settlement. She expressed concern that the freedom of movement of people in Taiz remains curtailed by roads blockages and that people have endured tremendous hardship. She called on donors to bridge the funding gap in the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan. The high risk of the oil spill from the SAFER oil tanker remains. She called on the international community to support the United Nations fundraising campaign to avert an environmental disaster with global consequences.

AMEIRAH OBAID MOHAMED OBAID ALHEFEITI (United Arab Emirates) said that, despite the Houthi militias continuing to place obstacles in extending and expanding the truce, the Presidential Leadership Council’s efforts preserve the truce and its gains have helped reduce violence and alleviate human suffering. Extending the truce offers the Houthis an opportunity to cooperate with international efforts to reach a permanent solution to the crisis and end their daily violations of the truce in the governorates of Hudaydah, Taiz, Al-Dhalea, Hajjah, Saada, Al-Jawf, and Marib, including the indiscriminate bombing of Al-Rawdah and large casualties among children. The siege of Taiz by Houthi militias must end as well as recruitment, mobilization and holding of military parades. It is critical that the latest extension results in progress on outstanding issues, especially the opening of roads to Taiz and exchange of detainees according to the principle of “all-for-all”. She called for intensifying efforts to reach a comprehensive ceasefire and political consultations between the Yemeni parties based on a set timeframe. Along with partners, especially Saudi Arabia, her country continues to address the challenges through economic and humanitarian support to Yemen in various fields, including the stabilization of exchange rates, considering that Yemen relies on imports to cover 90 per cent of its food needs. She also underlined the importance of the Houthis depositing revenues in the Central Bank of Yemen to allow for the payment of civil servant salaries.

MICHAEL KIBOINO (Kenya) cautioned against the truce being used as an opportunity to reconfigure or strengthen military postures to influence any future negotiations. In that regard, genuine efforts must be made to create a foundation for lasting peace. Expressing concern over recent reports of fighting in Shabwa governorate, he urged maximum restraint by the concerned parties to avoid any further escalation of tensions. Underscoring that the truce alone is not enough to address the humanitarian crisis, he said pragmatic approaches that can adequately and sustainably equip humanitarian action programmes with necessary resources are needed. Meanwhile, national and local actors in Yemen must allow unhindered access to humanitarian workers and aid in line with international humanitarian law, he said, stressing that the reported cases of intimidation and incitement against aid agencies must stop. Noting the importance of improving the economy and reducing reliance on external support, he welcomed the project of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) “Qat-to-Coffee for Climate Resilience and Human Security in Yemen”. The project aims to promote sustainable coffee value chains as a high-value alternative crop to reduce ground water exploitation, enhance livelihood opportunities, and empower women. If implemented successfully, that project can serve as a good model for similar development projects, he said.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) said the truce extension provides further opportunities for stabilization, including in the security and economy sectors. The Russian Federation will continue to provide all comprehensive assistance to mediation efforts towards compromises between the parties, he said, as a lasting ceasefire will depend on protagonists supporting United Nations efforts, as well as possible extension of truce parameters towards a comprehensive settlement. Unfortunately, the issue of the reopening of roads has still not been resolved, but the truce is being broadly observed with an insignificant number of violations. For the first time since the truce began four months ago, there has been significant improvement in the humanitarian situation, with joint steps to ensure fuel deliveries through Hudaydah port and commercial flights from Sana’a. Nonetheless, he stressed that the socioeconomic situation remains extremely serious, with an urgent need for normalization of provision of food, medication and other necessities in a non-discriminatory basis. Any restrictions on delivery or obstacles to humanitarian assistance remains unacceptable, he stressed, drawing attention to Council resolution 598 (1987) on regional stability.

RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) said her country has always prioritized the humanitarian needs of Yemen and extended humanitarian assistance, through the supply of medicines and food commodities in the past. Its hospitals have received thousands of Yemenis for medical treatment, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. India has also exported more than 250,000 tons of wheat to Yemen, since April this year, to mitigate the adverse impact of supply changes in the global commodity markets on Yemen, she said, affirming her country’s commitment to do so in the future. However, humanitarian aid alone will not solve the current crisis in Yemen, she pointed out, calling for international support to stabilize Yemen’s economy and prevent the deterioration of basic services. Only a robust and inclusive political solution, which meets the legitimate aspirations of all Yemenis, can end the conflict in the country, she said, urging the Yemeni parties to work towards such a solution and engage with the Special Envoy constructively in that regard.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said there is now an opening for a sustained peace and she appreciated the role of regional partners, including Saudi Arabia and Oman, in the peace process. She noted that 15,000 Yemenis have flown into Sana’a international airport and more fuel is entering the port of Hudaydah. It is now necessary to transition to a stronger, more comprehensive agreement that expands benefits for the Yemeni people. She called on all parties to intensify negotiations and finalize an expanded agreement, based on the Special Envoy’s proposals. This would enable a discussion for a nationwide ceasefire and pave the way for a Yemini-led peace process. This process needs input from women and civil society leaders. Houthi action in Taiz is long overdue and she called on the Houthis to open the road to Taiz. She called for salary payments to civil service workers. She demanded that the Houthis unconditionally release humanitarian workers that have been detained. Regarding aid, she noted the United States has provided more than $1 billion in 2022 and $5 billion since 2014. The United States has been the largest donor and she called on the international community to increase its funding. Money also is needed to prevent a possible oil spill from the SAFER oil tanker. Now is a critical moment for Yemen, she stressed.

PEDRO MEIRELLES REIS SOTERO DE MENEZES (Brazil) said the truce must be expanded to address issues such as the regular payment of government salaries, as well as helping parties reach a comprehensive and sustainable political settlement, with the meaningful participation of all groups in Yemeni society, including people with disabilities, youth and women. Expressing dismay at reports of the ongoing recruitment and indoctrination of children in areas controlled by Ansar Allah, he called upon the Houthis to urgently comply with the plan of action. His country has made consistent contributions during pledging events over the last few years, he said, expressing hope that new contributions for financing of the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen and of the SAFER oil tanker response plan, will also be forthcoming. While humanitarian assistance is fundamental, it is unsustainable in the absence of progress towards economic stability, he said, urging the parties to refrain from measures that might deepen economic fragmentation and to work towards re-establishing national economic institutions and structures.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania) noted the expanded and extended truce remains the right path towards resolving the crisis in Yemen. Despite ongoing challenges, the Yemeni people are benefiting from the initiative after years of war. He expressed hope that the parties are fully aware of this crucial moment in ongoing peace efforts, and that only a nationwide comprehensive ceasefire can pave the way to dialogue for a Yemeni-led and owned political solution under United Nations auspices. When agreements are signed, they must be implemented, he affirmed, commending the Government’s efforts to fulfil its commitments, delivering fuel ships to Hudaydah port and flights to Sana’a. He called on the Houthis to engage in good faith and adopt a reasonable approach towards reopening of the road to Taiz and exchange of detainees. Expressing regret over the 23 July attack in Taiz, he stressed that all parties to conflict are obligated to protect civilians under international law. He welcomed meetings towards de-escalation and joined the Special Envoy in his call for the release of all detainees as agreed on 22 March, and for the immediate release of all United Nations staff, as they must feel safe and have their security guaranteed. Humanitarian assistance must be free and secure to reach those in need. Stressing that the past four months have clarified the difference between then and now, conflict and truce, he called for dialogue towards a nationwide ceasefire leading to a lasting settlement.

JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) called for both the lifting of the blockade on Taiz and for an agreement to be reached to resolve the issue of payment of civil servants' salaries. Parties must respect the truce so that progress can be made to resume dialogue with a view to sustaining peace he said, adding that regional actors must support actions toward that end. He condemned the shelling of a residential neighbourhood in Taiz, which caused the death of one child and wounded 10 other children and expressed hope that the work of the Military Coordination Committee and the Joint Operations Room will make it possible to prevent such incidents. He commended the progress made in facilitating the identity verification of detainees and called for the guarantee of their timely release, particularly those in vulnerable situations. Acknowledging the recent contributions of the United States to the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2022, he also said all actors on the ground must respect international humanitarian law and must guarantee full access for humanitarian assistance. Condemning threats and intimidation against humanitarian personnel, he urged the release and clarification of the whereabouts of detained and missing United Nations personnel.

MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) welcomed the renewal of the current truce, which keeps a glimmer of hope alive and gives the Yemeni people a rare respite in a war that is never ending. He hoped the two parties would step up negotiations to build on current opportunities and pave a way to negotiate a lasting peace. He noted the signs of progress, such as the re-opening of the Sana’a international airport and the increase in fuel imports. Despite international pressure, sporadic violations of the ceasefire continue. If nothing is done, an escalation in hostilities cannot be ruled out. The humanitarian situation is still worrying. Civilians have paid the highest price, including children, he said, stressing that additional humanitarian funding is needed. The country’s economic prospects remain bleak. The price of energy and food stuffs have increased and led to food insecurity. The operating situation for humanitarian workers is difficult. Regarding the SAFER oil tanker, he called for the international community to increase funding to reduce the likelihood of an environmental disaster. He urged all parties to cease hostilities and supported the Special Envoy for his unfailing efforts.

NATHALIE BROADHURST (France), welcoming the renewal of the truce for a period of two months, reiterated the call for a lasting nationwide ceasefire. Urging the parties to hold in-depth discussions, under the auspices of the United Nations, she stressed that a vital political agreement is the only way to end the conflict. Despite the truce, the security and humanitarian situation remains of grave concern, including a serious humanitarian crisis, as well as the working conditions of humanitarian personnel. She reiterated the importance of ensuring full humanitarian access to all people in need and the immediate unconditional release of United Nations and humanitarian personnel detained by the Houthis. The rapid reopening of the roads serving Taiz is crucial, as its inhabitants are living in unbearable conditions. Calling on the Houthis to make the necessary concessions, she further voiced concern over recent incidents in the Shebwa Governorate, calling for peaceful coexistence in the interest of the Yemeni people. Turning to the SAFER oil tanker, she recalled the urgency of avoiding a new ecological and humanitarian disaster and called for financial contributions in order to allow the start of the transfer operation, under the coordination of the Netherlands.

CÁIT MORAN (Ireland) said the indispensable role of women in peacebuilding across the country must be matched by their full, equal and meaningful participation in all stages of the peace process, and at all levels of political representation. She urged the Houthis to implement their action plan to end grave violations against children and called on all parties to abide by their commitments in that regard. Noting the catastrophic flooding that has affected hundreds of thousands of Yemenis, many of whom are internally displaced, she encouraged the Government to redouble its efforts to stabilize the economy and engage with the United Nations economic framework. She also called for the immediate release of all detained staff of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations. Given reports of serious violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law across Yemen, justice and accountability must be pursued to bring peace to the country, she said, underscoring the importance of evidence-based monitoring and reporting.

ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) welcomed the extension of the truce and said upcoming negotiations should focus on the opening of roads in Taiz and other important issues. Since April, there has been much progress, including many humanitarian gains, more fuel shipments entering the port of Hudaydah and the opening of Sana’a international airport. Yet more must be done and he condemned the recent attack in Taiz. He called on both sides to de-escalate hostilities and build confidence in the peace process. He called for the inclusion of women in all United Nations processes, including the prisoner exchange committee. Women must be included in all aspects of Government policy and work. As the new school year begins in August, he called on parties to end the recruitment of children in armed conflict. He called for more donor funding to prevent the humanitarian and environmental disaster surrounding the SAFER oil tanker.

ZHANG JUN (China), Council President for August, speaking in his national capacity, said all parties in Yemen must firmly adhere to the path toward a political settlement. The international community must facilitate peace talks and create conditions for long-term peace and stability. Moreover, the truce agreement should be fully implemented. Although civilian casualties caused by military operations have dropped significantly since the start of the truce, peace has not prevailed, and the security situation remains fragile in places like Taiz and Shabwa. Parties concerned should fully and comprehensively fulfil their commitments to the truce, avoid all attacks on civilian and civilian facilities, make full use of the mechanism of the Military Coordination Committee to maintain regular communication, and address issues through dialogue and consultation. The achievement of the truce should be further expanded, he said, calling on all Yemeni parties to seize the window of opportunity presented by the expansion of the truce and work with each other on the payment of civil servant salaries, increasing flights at Sana’a airport, and other issues that have a bearing on people’s livelihoods and well-being.

ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said the Government has renewed its commitment to comprehensive and sustainable peace, based on the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative, outcomes of national dialogue and Council resolution 2216 (2015). It will continue to build towards a comprehensive ceasefire to end the conflict and alleviate the humanitarian crisis. However, Houthi militias have proven they are not serious and thwart peace, reneging on truce commitments — with 50 daily violations, leading to the death of 187 people and injuring 910 others. Houthi militias are undermining de-escalation and peace, laying siege to cities and looting incomes, using the military dossier as a bargaining chip leading to blackmail. The Yemeni people suffer under a grave situation at all levels, with dialogue remaining the best way to end conflict. The Houthis must refrain from war and escalation to save the people from further suffering, he stressed.

He noted the Government has facilitated 29 round trip flights from and to Sana’a, transporting more than 13,000 travellers, despite stumbling blocks imposed by militias, as well as 34 ships transporting over 900 metric tons of fuel through Hudaydah port. While the taxes and custom feeds were enough to pay civil servants and pensions in areas controlled by Houthis, the militias collected them and deprived employees’ salaries, using that income to fund their war. The Presidential Leadership Council is working on reforms to manage resources and enhance support from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates to support citizens and promote law enforcement. He called for further support from the international community for stability and recovery, with humanitarian efforts taking into account national priorities.

Despite the support, humanitarian operations cannot reach all those in need, with funding shortages and obstacles erected by militias to divert assistance. The siege by Iran-supported Houthi militias on Taiz is in its eighth year — amounting to a war crime — circumventing the truce, refusing to open main roads leading to civilians, including women and children, losing their lives. The militias are not serious about ending the situation threatening 4 million people in Taiz, preventing humanitarian assistance and goods, including the deliberate killing of children there in the hours before the extension of the truce. Militias target civilians with snipers, drones and missiles, including under the truce, and will continue to violate the truce without being held accountable. How many civilians must die before the war is ended and their crimes are held accountable, he asked, calling on the Council to review how it deals with Houthi militias and bring real pressure to bear on them.

Turning to the SAFER oil tanker, he noted that every year at this time, currents intensify in the southern Red Sea, with threats of deployment of naval mines, threatening explosions, and an environmental, humanitarian and economic disaster which will affect Yemen, the region and the world. Houthi militias continue to use the crisis to blackmail the international community. “Time is not on our side” he stressed, calling for bridging the funding gap of the United Nations plan to avoid this preventable catastrophe.

For information media. Not an official record.