Thank you very much Governor. Obviously, I am very honoured to be with you here today in Taiz. I just had a very constructive meeting with the Governor and with other representatives of political parties here in Taiz. We discussed issues facing Taiz but also the situation elsewhere in Yemen, where we see military operations causing significant casualties, which are exacerbating the humanitarian situation and undermining peace efforts.
Coming for me to Taiz for the first time is important. It is a place that encompasses so many things that are central to all of Yemen: there is political plurality, entrepreneurial spirit, cultural and historical richness and the strength to address the pain and difficulties that this war has inflicted on its people. Taiz shares also the same pains as we see elsewhere in Yemen.
We see people that are having their freedom of movement severely restricted; we see people that are affected by the declining economic situation, the frequent interruptions in the delivery of basic services like water and electricity, and a general state of insecurity. This, we see in large parts of Yemen but concentrated here in Taiz as well. Again, as elsewhere in Yemen, it is the civilians that bear the burden of this conflict. Here, as well, we have seen children killed or maimed, and most recently in the deplorable attack on 30th of October that claimed the lives of three children. And I would like in this respect to express my deep condolences to the family of these children.
Working for peace in Yemen is an uphill battle. However, we should never forget that there is always a way to break the cycle of violence. There are always opportunities for peaceful dialogue. And the people of Taiz know this too well. They have been at the forefront of civil society mediation initiatives on prisoners exchange or by improving the delivery of basic services or working to open roads and identifying solutions to issues caused by protracted conflict. I support and encourage their courageous efforts. All in all, Taiz is the reminder of the possibility of a pluralistic Yemeni state and remains a key part of achieving sustainable peace in Yemen.
Thank you very much.