Yemen

Full transcript of the United Nations Special Envoy's press stakeout following the UN Security Council session on Yemen, 10 September 2021

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Spokesperson: We are delighted to be joined by our newly appointed Envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg who just briefed the Council. He’ll have a few words and then take a few questions. Please.

UN Special Envoy: Good morning everyone,

I am Hans Grundberg, the new UN Special Envoy to Yemen and I took up my duties on the fifth of September. I have spent these last five days here at internal meetings here at the United Nations Headquarters, including with the Secretary-General. I have also had excellent meetings with several representatives of some of the most engaged member states on Yemen here in New York.

Today, as you’ve heard from the President, I’ve had a very good first exchange with the Security Council on the complex challenges surrounding the situation in Yemen. I am very grateful for the support that I have received from Council Members. I look forward to continued frank and open discussions with the Council.

I will soon head to the Office in Amman in order to meet my team and to continue with them important discussions on the way forward.

I intend thereafter to engage in a first round of consultations with the Government of Yemen, with Ansar Allah and with other Yemeni political actors. There is a need for serious, frank discussions on the future of Yemen, which should be held without preconditions. This is long overdue.

Thank you very much.

Spokesperson: Thank you. Talal?

Question from Al Arabiya: Thank you Ambassador Hans Grundberg and welcome and we wish you the very best of luck. You need it. I’m sure top of your priorities is the stoppage of the violence and the killing and the targeting of civilians especially whether in Saudi Arabia or inside Yemen ballistic missiles and explosive drones. How do you intend to convince the Houthis to sit down, stop the attack on Marib, stop the use of ballistic missiles, stop the drones, I mean I can go on and mention dates of the attacks and how many people killed and injured, I am sure you know better than me. How do you intend to convince them of the need and it’s in their interest to stop the violence and start a peaceful process?

UN Special Envoy: Thank you very much, and no unfortunately, I lost the title Ambassador five days ago, so with that I’m only Mr. Hans Grundberg now, but thank you anyway. Thank you. I think you, in particular, but all of you present here today are well aware that the conflict in Yemen has been going on for way too long. We enter, I think soon we will see, this seventh year of the conflict in Yemen, and that is way too long, which I also underlined to the Council. There is a need to use the fact, the beginning of my tenure to reassess previous attempts and also understand what has worked and what has not worked in making the parties come together for a peaceful resolution. And that is something that I intend to do together with my team in Amman, but also together with the parties themselves, and that’s where I will want to engage, and this is important and I want to underline that serious and frank and unconditional exchanges with the parties. And that I think is a particularly crucial at this moment on time in order to pave the way forward. Thanks.

Spokesperson: Thank you. Kristen Saloomey, Al Jazeera.

Question from Al Jazeera: Actually, I’m not sure if this falls under your remit to be honest, but do you have any updates on the oil tanker and negotiations there, could that possibly be an entrée to discussions with the parties on the ground that could be helpful?

UN Special Envoy: No. I, obviously, since I have spent already, with my previous capacity as the Ambassador of the European Union to Yemen, I have followed with a great level of concern the matter of the Safer tanker and that is a subject that is not new to me. I’m well aware of the complexities. I’m also well aware of the slight level of frustration both from the Council, but also from the large international community on the inability so far to resolve the matter. There, this is something that I’ll look into, but I think that our attempts to resolve the matter, and I hope that can be done as smoothly as possible. But it is a complicated issue which needs a swift resolution.

Spokesperson: Thank you very much. Thank you.

UN Special Envoy: Thanks