UN / YEMEN

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15-Jul-2020 00:02:38
Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock told the Security Council that if a spill were to occur from the FSO Safer, a damaged oil tanker moored off the coast of Hodeidah governorate in the Red Sea, “1.6 million Yemenis would be directly affected” and “every fishing community along Yemen’s west coast would see their livelihoods collapse.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / YEMEN
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DATELINE: 15 JULY 2020, NEW YORK CITY / FILE

SHOTLIST:

FILE - NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, exterior UN Headquarters

15 JULY 2020, NEW YORK CITY

2. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator:
“If a spill were to occur in the next two months, the experts project that 1.6 million Yemenis would be directly affected. Essentially every fishing community along Yemen’s west coast would see their livelihoods collapse and would suffer substantial economic losses. About 90 percent of people in these communities already need humanitarian assistance. Sea currents and seasonal conditions also mean much of the oil would likely remain near Yemen’s coast rather than dispersing widely.”
3. Med shot, German Ambassador Christoph Heusgen, Security Council President for the month of July
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, Foreign Minister, Yemen:
“The proposal consisted of three stages, first, assessment and necessary repairs; two, basic maintenance and facilitating oil extraction; and 3, disposal of the tanker. And that all potential revenue from the sale of oil is to be used as a contribution to paying salaries to civil servants in Yemen. The government of Yemen have agreed to this and the Houties have not. I am afraid, Mr President, that settling to merely granting access to the tanker by the Houties at this stage will not solve the problem, and it will enable them yet again to highjack the issue in the future, when the pressure is lifted.”
5. Multiple screens
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Mohamed Idris, Permanent Representative of Egypt to the United Nations:
“The deteriorating condition of the 44-year-old Safer oil tanker represents a clear and eminent threat that at any moment can cause a massive environmental and economic catastrophe that adds to the tremendous suffering of the people of Yemen, as well as causing irreversible damage to the coastal states of the Red Sea, including Egypt, and the safety of international maritime transportation through the strategic Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, which is the southern gate to the Suez Canal.”
7. Multiple screens
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations:
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns the irresponsible actions of the Houtie militia, that have caused the situation in the first place. The Houties continue to use this potential disaster to blackmail the world into fulfilling their political ambitions without regard to the wellbeing and safety of the people of Yemen and the region at large.”
9. Multiple screens

STORYLINE:

Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock today (15 Jul) told the Security Council that if a spill were to occur from the FSO Safer, a damaged oil tanker moored off the coast of Hodeidah governorate in the Red Sea, “1.6 million Yemenis would be directly affected” and “every fishing community along Yemen’s west coast would see their livelihoods collapse.”

Lowcock warned that this would cause “substantial economic losses” and noted that “about 90 percent of people in these communities already need humanitarian assistance.”

Sea currents and seasonal conditions, he said, mean that “much of the oil would likely remain near Yemen’s coast rather than dispersing widely.”

In his briefing to the Council, the humanitarian official noted that in this scenario, the port Hudaydah could be forced to close for a period of weeks or even months, which would destabilize critical commercial and aid imports of food and other essential commodities.

The Foreign Minister of Yemen, Mohammed Al-Hadhrami, told the Council that the government of Yemen has agreed to a proposal that would allow for assessment of the tanker’s conditions, necessary repairs and basic maintenance to be performed, facilitating oil extraction, and disposal of the tanker, with all potential revenue from the sale of oil “to be used as a contribution to paying salaries to civil servants in Yemen.”

Al-Hadhrami said Houties militias have not agreed to this proposal and “settling to merely granting access to the tanker by the Houties at this stage will not solve the problem, and it will enable them yet again to highjack the issue in the future, when the pressure is lifted.”

Egypt’s Ambassador, Mohamed Idris, said, “the deteriorating condition of the 44-year-old Safer oil tanker represents a clear and eminent threat that at any moment can cause a massive environmental and economic catastrophe that adds to the tremendous suffering of the people of Yemen, as well as causing irreversible damage to the coastal states of the Red Sea, including Egypt, and the safety of international maritime transportation through the strategic Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, which is the southern gate to the Suez Canal.”

For his part, Saudi Ambassador Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi said, “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia condemns the irresponsible actions of the Houtie militia, that have caused the situation in the first place. The Houties continue to use this potential disaster to blackmail the world into fulfilling their political ambitions without regard to the wellbeing and safety of the people of Yemen and the region at large.”

The Council adopted a resolution on Tuesday (14 Jul) renewing the mandate of the UN Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) for another 12 months.
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