UN / YEMEN WRAP

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15-Jun-2021 00:04:30
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths today (15 Jun) told the Security Council that Yemeni men, women and children “are suffering every day because people with power have missed the opportunities presented to them, to make the necessary concessions to end the war.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / YEMEN WRAP
TRT: 4:30
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 15 JUNE 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

15 JUNE 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“Ending a war is a choice. Yemeni men, women and children are suffering every day because people with power have missed the opportunities presented to them, to make the necessary concessions to end the war. As a result, Yemenis are obliged to live under violence, insecurity and fear, with limits to their freedom of movement and freedom of expression. And perhaps most tragically of all, we are witness to the hopes and aspirations of a generation of young Yemenis for a peaceful future being dashed.”
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“I want to stress, Mr President – as if it needs to be stressed - that a nation-wide ceasefire would have undeniable humanitarian value. It is a humanitarian act to agree to start a ceasefire. It allows for the silencing of guns, the opening of vital roads, including in Marib and in Taiz and elsewhere, and a return to some sense of security for the people of Yemen.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“But two brushes with mass famine in three years is not a success. Even if the worst was avoided, it's a failure. Millions of Yemenis can attest to that. Their lives have just kept getting worse. There is broad agreement on what to do, including in the Security Council, and we need to translate that agreement into action. And that means everyone, especially the parties to the conflict, must act on all five of those points that we've been discussing here for years.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“But, Mr President, the money will soon start running out again. In August, UNICEF will cut fuel support for water and sanitation systems serving 3.4 million people. In September, the World Health Organization will stop providing their minimum service package that enables healthcare for six million people, and the cuts will intensify from there. The dangers of famine, disease, including COVID, and displacement have not gone away, and if more money doesn't come in, more people will die.”
10. Wide shot, ambassadors in Security Council meeting
11. SOUNDBITE (Arabic) Abdullah Ali Fadhel Al-Saadi, Permanent Representative of Yemen to the United Nations:
“This escalation reflects the actions and stances of these militias of terrorism, criminal disposition, and allegiance to the Iranian regime which aims to sow chaos and wars and to create crises. It reveals the true stubborn stances to sabotage all the efforts and attempts by the international community and this esteemed Council during the past months to end this war and the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people.”
12. Wide shot, press room
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“I think it's very important to understand that the Ansar Allah leader would want to reach his hand out to Oman in a way that is different from the UN. Oman has, as I say, played this bridging role for these last many years and has now itself taken the risk, frankly, of deploying to try to get agreement.”
14. Wide shot, journalist asking question
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“As you would know as anybody who's spoken to officials in Ansar Allah, they are keenly insistent on the fact that they make decisions about their future, nobody else does. And they make very sure that I understand that in terms of anybody else I talk to; and I think they are probably right. I think they are probably right. I think it's wrong to under-estimate the pride and self-respect, if you like, of the leadership of the Ansar Allah movement.”
16. Wide shot, press room

STORYLINE:

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths today (15 Jun) told the Security Council that Yemeni men, women and children “are suffering every day because people with power have missed the opportunities presented to them, to make the necessary concessions to end the war.”

In his last briefing to the Council as Special Envoy, Griffiths said the UN has long characterized Yemen as the world’s worst man-made humanitarian crisis, adding that “ending a war is a choice.” He said, as the result of missed opportunities, “Yemenis are obliged to live under violence, insecurity and fear, with limits to their freedom of movement and freedom of expression. And perhaps most tragically of all, we are witness to the hopes and aspirations of a generation of young Yemenis for a peaceful future being dashed.”

The Special Envoy said no amount of humanitarian assistance can compensate for a brighter future and stressed that only a negotiated political settlement can truly turn the tide in Yemen.

He said parties to the conflict need to be courageous enough and willing to choose that path over the continuation of the conflict.

Reporting on the current negotiations, Griffiths regretted the fact that the parties have not overcome their differences. He said Ansar Allah is insisting on a stand-alone agreement on the Hudaydah ports and Sana’a airport, as a condition precedent for the ceasefire and the launch of the political process; while the Yemeni government on the other hand insisted these issues be agreed to and implemented as a package, including the start of the ceasefire.

The Special Envoy said the UN offered different solutions to bridge these positions, none of which were accepted by the parties. He hoped that the efforts undertaken by Oman and others following his visits to Sana’a and Riyadh would bear fruit.

Griffiths said, “I want to stress, Mr President – as if it needs to be stressed - that a nation-wide ceasefire would have undeniable humanitarian value. It is a humanitarian act to agree to start a ceasefire. It allows for the silencing of guns, the opening of vital roads, including in Marib and in Taiz and elsewhere, and a return to some sense of security for the people of Yemen.”

However, Griffiths added that the continued closure of Sana’a airport as well as the crippling restrictions on fuel through the ports of Hudaydah are unjustifiable and must be addressed.

The Special Envoy said Yemen is a tale of missed and then lost opportunities, adding that time and time again, when one side is ready to compromise the other side is not. He underscored the need for an inclusive political process and settlement if the country is to move away from cycles of violence and conflict.

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said the only way to stop suffering in Yemen is to end the war, but in the meantime the world could do other things that would help right away. These include better protection for civilians, more access for aid workers, more money for aid agencies and more support for the Yemeni economy.

He noted that this was his message when he first started in this position and, nearly four years later, are still the things asked for every month. He said achievements have been made over the years, including averting famine in 2018-2019 and the likelihood of repeating the aversion this year.

However, Lowcock warned that “two brushes with mass famine in three years is not a success.” He explained, “Even if the worst was avoided, it's a failure. Millions of Yemenis can attest to that. Their lives have just kept getting worse. There is broad agreement on what to do, including in the Security Council, and we need to translate that agreement into action. And that means everyone, especially the parties to the conflict, must act on all five of those points that we've been discussing here for years.”

The UN humanitarian chief said, on average, at least five Yemeni civilians are being killed or injured every single day. He said the Ansar Allah offensive in Marib continues to pose a direct threat to millions of people including more than one million displaced Yemenis sheltering in and around the city. He reminded parties of their obligations to spare civilians and civilian objects and called for accountability.

Lowcock said aid agencies are helping more than 10 million people a month in Yemen, but still face too many obstacles, most, but not all, of which are in areas controlled by Ansar Allah. He added that since the March pledging event, the humanitarian response plan for Yemen has gone from about 15 per cent to 43 per cent funded.

He said, “But, Mr President, the money will soon start running out again. In August, UNICEF will cut fuel support for water and sanitation systems serving 3.4 million people. In September, the World Health Organization will stop providing their minimum service package that enables healthcare for six million people, and the cuts will intensify from there. The dangers of famine, disease, including COVID, and displacement have not gone away, and if more money doesn't come in, more people will die.”

The UN humanitarian chief called on all donors to pay all outstanding pledges – which amount to some 200 million USD - and to increase their support across all humanitarian activities that need to be financed.

Yemeni ambassador Abdullah Al-Saadi said, despite his government’s support for a political settlement and the various initiatives and efforts by partners to end the conflict, Houthi militias continue their offensive on Marib -which has become the largest gathering of displaced persons in the country, and continue to shell civilians and civilian infrastructure. He said Ansar Allah refuse to agree to a comprehensive ceasefire, as called for by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and welcomed by the Yemeni government and the Saudi-led Coalition.

Al-Saadi said, “This escalation reflects the actions and stances of these militias of terrorism, criminal disposition, and allegiance to the Iranian regime which aims to sow chaos and wars and to create crises. It reveals the true stubborn stances to sabotage all the efforts and attempts by the international community and this esteemed Council during the past months to end this war and the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people.”

The Yemeni ambassador said, while the government continues to hold the Houthis completely responsible for obstructing efforts, it will keep its hand extended for peace because it believes that the Yemeni people deserve to live in security, peace, stability and prosperity.

Speaking to reporters following the Security Council meeting, Griffith reaffirmed his hope the Oman would make progress through its mediation. He said, “I think it's very important to understand that the Ansar Allah leader would want to reach his hand out to Oman in a way that is different from the UN. Oman has, as I say, played this bridging role for these last many years and has now itself taken the risk, frankly, of deploying to try to get agreement.”

Asked about the role of Iran in the Yemeni conflict, Griffiths said Iran’s Foreign Minister often talks of the need to implement a ceasefire, lift the blockade, and for a power-sharing agreement, adding that if this is their position it is very welcome.
However, he said that officials in Ansar Allah “are keenly insistent on the fact that they make decisions about their future, nobody else does.” He expressed his believe that “they are probably right.” He added, “I think it's wrong to under-estimate the pride and self-respect, if you like, of the leadership of the Ansar Allah movement.”

Griffiths is expected to take over from Martin Lock sometime in July as UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
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