8598th Security Council Meeting: Situation in Middle East

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20-Aug-2019 01:18:04
Briefing Security Council, Special Envoy warns new clashes in Yemen risk expanding humanitarian crisis, violence, stresses need to implement Stockholm Agreement at 8598th meeting.

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The fragmentation of Yemen is becoming a stronger and more pressing threat, the Security Council heard today, as the top United Nations official in the country cautioned that recent clashes risk further deepening the world’s leading humanitarian crisis and spreading violence to other southern governorates.

“There is no time to lose,” stressed Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, speaking via video teleconference from Amman, emphasizing that the targeting of civilians and acts of military provocation continue to deepen the divide among parties.

He condemned efforts of the Southern Transitional Council to take control of State institutions by force and deplored the harassment of Yemenis of northern origin in Aden, including through physical violence, forced displacement and denial of freedom of movement.

The Special Envoy emphasized the need to implement the Stockholm Agreement, noting also that, after months of negotiations, parties to the conflict are aware of what the other side is willing to accept. Negotiations on the implementation of the exchanges of prisoners remain ongoing, with delays prolonging the suffering of the detainees and their family members. He also welcomed efforts of Saudi Arabia to convene talks in Jeddah to prevent a further deterioration of the security situation in the south.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, said that events in Yemen over the past several weeks have shown just how volatile and unsustainable the war is. While there has been some progress in the delivery of food aid, humanitarian agencies continue to face severe restrictions, further complicated by a continuous stream of unofficial changes and new policies.

Currently, more than 100 humanitarian projects are awaiting agreement by Ansar Allah-affiliated authorities in the north, she continued. Yemen remains the world’s biggest humanitarian operation, but essential programmes are closing down due to a lack of funding. In the next few days, water and sanitation programmes will stop in four areas, leaving 300,000 displaced people at extreme risk of cholera. She urged donors to fulfil their pledge commitments.

In the ensuing discussion, Council members expressed concern over the clashes in Aden, welcomed all de-escalation efforts and urged all parties to maintain reason and restraint.

The representative of Kuwait said the political and security situation in Yemen is mired in a stalemate in implementing the Stockholm Agreement and advancing a United Nations-sponsored dialogue. Progress lags on prisoner exchanges and parties are struggling to implement the Hodeidah Agreement.

Speakers also condemned attacks against civilians, with Peru’s delegate urging the Council to be consistent in ensuring the protection of Yemen’s people. He also expressed alarm over the high level of food insecurity, cholera outbreaks and a worsening economy.

The representative of the United States noted with concern the stoppage and reduction of aid programmes due to funding shortages, calling on all donors to enhance assistance.

Yemen’s representative said that the armed rebellion in Aden has undermined the stability, security and unity of his country and runs counter to the aim of the Arab coalition. He urged the United Arab Emirates to cease providing support to the militia and welcomed Saudi Arabia’s call on the militia to withdraw from civilian infrastructure and hand over their weapons. Yemen’s Government stresses the need to implement the Stockholm Agreement and expresses alarm over militias hampering the delivery of humanitarian aid. The decision by the Houthi militia to appoint an ambassador to Iran must be categorically condemned as it violates the Charter of the United Nations and contradicts Yemen’s sovereignty.

Also speaking today were representatives of Equatorial Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire South Africa and China.

The meeting began at 10:10 a.m. and ended at 11:28 a.m.

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