UN / YEMEN

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14-Dec-2021 00:04:29
UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said he was "deeply alarmed” by the ongoing military escalation and continued violence in Yemen and stressed that there was a “risk that this could open a new chapter” of the country’s war that is “even more fragmented and bloody.” UNIFEED

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STORY: UN / YEMEN
TRT: 4:29
SOURCE: UNIFEED
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LANGUAGE: ARABIC / ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 14 DECEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

SHOTLIST:

FILE – NEW YORK CITY

1. Wide shot, UN headquarters exterior

14 DECEMBER 2021, NEW YORK CITY

2. Wide shot, Security Council
3. Zoom in, Rajasingham being seated at Security Council table
4. Wide shot, Security Council
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“I am deeply alarmed by the ongoing military escalation and continued violence in Yemen. Since I last addressed this Council, the conflict has escalated considerably. There is a risk that this could open a new chapter of Yemen’s war that is even more fragmented and bloody.”
6. Wide shot, Security Council
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“Here I would like to reiterate, Mr. President, that wars do have rules. All conflict actors, whether directly engaged or supporting, are accountable and have obligations under international humanitarian law. This includes protection of civilians and the humane treatment of prisoners of war.”
8. Wide shot, Security Council
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, United Nations:
“I remain convinced that warring parties can, and indeed must, talk even if they are not ready to put down their arms. Channels of communication should be opened without preconditions and as a matter of priority.”
10. Wide shot, Security Council
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“This year's response plan originally aimed to help 16 million people, or about five million more than we have actually managed to reach. Funding constraints and one major reason for the gap, and they are about to get worse. Looming shortfalls means the World Food Programme must consider cutting back food rations for millions of hungry people in the coming weeks and months. UNICEF may also have to cut back support for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children, as well as water and sanitation activities.”
12. Wide shot, Security Council
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“We are also extremely disappointed that Ansar Allah authorities continue to detain two United Nations staff members in San’aa. This is despite assurances from their leadership, which we conveyed to you last month, that they would be quickly released. To date, we have had no access to the detained staff and have received no official information regarding the arrest.”
14. Wide shot, Security Council
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, United Nations:
“The vision is to roll out these and other economic framework activities in parallel to the humanitarian response next year. As the economy improves, humanitarian needs will start to reduce. Eventually, the size of the aid operation could start to reduce as well. To be clear, though, we aren't there yet. Yemen still requires a massive human response, at least through next year.”
16. Wide shot, Security Council
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations:
“Each of these Houthi attacks on its own is unacceptable. Together, they send a chilling and unmistakable signal about Houthi unwillingness to participate in a peaceful political process or in a future government that upholds the rule of law.”
18. Wide shot, Security Council
19. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdullah al-Saadi, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Yemen:
“The continued Houthi offensive on Marib, which is considered the last safe resort for millions of displaced persons, comes as part of the Houthi effort to inflict as much casualties as possible among civilians thus causing new waves of displacement. This is an act of vengeance that reflects the terrorist and blood-thirsty nature of these militias. This requires a speedy humanitarian intervention and an emergency response to meet basic needs in a sufficient way that could fill the huge humanitarian gap resulting from the forced displacement.”
20. Wide shot, Security Council
21. SOUNDBITE (English) Abdullah al-Saadi, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Yemen:
“These Iranian practices will not stop without a firm a deterring stance by the international community, the United Nations, and this esteemed Council. This is because the main impediment which is standing in the way of peace in Yemen is Iran’s insistence on its aggressive behaviour and blackmail through its destructive tools, namely the Houthi militias, which serves Iran’s dangerous plan that aims to spread chaos, terrorism, and threats international maritime shipping lines in the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait.”
22. Wide shot, Security Council

STORYLINE:

UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg said he was "deeply alarmed” by the ongoing military escalation and continued violence in Yemen and stressed that there was a “risk that this could open a new chapter” of the country’s war that is “even more fragmented and bloody.”

Addressing the Security Council today (14 Dec) via teleconference, Grundberg said, while all parties say they want peace, their focus remains on military options which will not result in sustainable solutions.

He said the new front lines in Hudaydah created by the recent evacuation of the Joint Forces from large parts of the Governorate were highly contested with the parties employing heavy artillery and aerial strikes. He added that fighting has also intensified in Marib, raising his concern about the possibility of urban warfare in the city.

The Special Enovy said the intensification of the fighting and shifting frontlines is endangering civilians and in many cases forcing them to flee for a second or even third time. He expressed his alarm by the military escalation by all sides of the conflict in Yemen, adding that he was concerned about attacks against Saudi Arabia targeting civilian and commercial infrastructure.

Grundberg said, “Here I would like to reiterate, Mr. President, that wars do have rules. All conflict actors, whether directly engaged or supporting, are accountable and have obligations under international humanitarian law. This includes protection of civilians and the humane treatment of prisoners of war.”

The Special Envoy said an understandable sense of frustration and despair has been evident in his conversations in Yemen and the region, as past attempts at finding solutions have not delivered the desired results. He said the establishment of a renewed political process is a complicated task, as parties have not met in over five years and the gaps between them have widened.

Grundberg noted that piecemeal solutions could, at best, only provide temporary relief, adding that a solution would not be sustainable if it does not represent the interests of Yemenis, both those involve and not involved in the flighting.

The Special Envoy envisaged an inclusive Yemeni owned and internationally-supported political process which would support near-term solutions to de-escalate the violence, prevent further economic deterioration and mitigate the impact of the conflict on civilians. He said the comprehensive process should be designed in a way that allows for parallel progress on different agenda items of importance to Yemenis and allows for incremental progress.

He said, “I remain convinced that warring parties can, and indeed must, talk even if they are not ready to put down their arms. Channels of communication should be opened without preconditions and as a matter of priority.”

UN Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ramesh Rajasingham said the Humanitarian crisis in Yemen continues to deteriorate as a result of conflict and economic collapse.

He said, “This year's response plan originally aimed to help 16 million people, or about five million more than we have actually managed to reach. Funding constraints and one major reason for the gap, and they are about to get worse. Looming shortfalls means the World Food Programme must consider cutting back food rations for millions of hungry people in the coming weeks and months. UNICEF may also have to cut back support for hundreds of thousands of malnourished children, as well as water and sanitation activities.”

Rajasingham said all parties must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law at all times, including the obligation to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to facilitate impartial humanitarian relief. He called on Ansar Allah to stop the Marib offensive and for parties to adopted nationwide ceasefire that would end the fighting everywhere else.

The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator said, “We are also extremely disappointed that Ansar Allah authorities continue to detain two United Nations staff members in San’aa. This is despite assurances from their leadership, which we conveyed to you last month, that they would be quickly released. To date, we have had no access to the detained staff and have received no official information regarding the arrest.”

Rajasingham the biggest challenege to the aid operation in Yemen is not funding, access or security, it is that despite scaling up assistance, the underlying problems just keep getting worse. He said Yemen’s economy remains in freefall, pushing millions more people into dependence on humanitarian aid.

Rajasingham said the UN has developed an economic framework that seeks to boost purchasing power, reduce the cost of imported goods and improve macroeconomic stability. He said this would require a mix of financial and political investments.

The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator said, “The vision is to roll out these and other economic framework activities in parallel to the humanitarian response next year. As the economy improves, humanitarian needs will start to reduce. Eventually, the size of the aid operation could start to reduce as well. To be clear, though, we aren't there yet. Yemen still requires a massive human response, at least through next year.”

United States ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said her country was encouraged by the Special Envoy’s efforts to consult a broad range of Yemenis as he develops a new framework for an inclusive political process, adding that all parties must meaningfully engage with him.

Greenfield said a series Houthi actions in recent months have undermined peace, including a missile attack on an IDP camp, killing five civilians and repeated ballistic missile launches targeting Saudi Arabia.

The US ambassador said, “Each of these Houthi attacks on its own is unacceptable. Together, they send a chilling and unmistakable signal about Houthi unwillingness to participate in a peaceful political process or in a future government that upholds the rule of law.”

Yemeni ambassador Abdullah al-Saadi said humanitarian suffering among Yemenis has increased due to Houthi attacks on cities, populated areas, and IDP camps. HE said 17,000 families have been displaced from Taiz due to the Houthi escalation and 25,000 people have also be recently displaced as a result of Houthi advances in Hudaydah, a clear violation of the Stockholm agreement.

Al-Saadi said the Houthis were also continuing their offensive on Marib and targeting civilians and IDP camps with ballistic missiles and drones. He added, “The continued Houthi offensive on Marib, which is considered the last safe resort for millions of displaced persons, comes as part of the Houthi effort to inflict as much casualties as possible among civilians thus causing new waves of displacement. This is an act of vengeance that reflects the terrorist and blood-thirsty nature of these militias. This requires a speedy humanitarian intervention and an emergency response to meet basic needs in a sufficient way that could fill the huge humanitarian gap resulting from the forced displacement.”

The Yemeni ambassador said Iran continues to destabilize Yemen and prolong the war by violating Security Council resolutions, particularly pertaining to the arms embargo. He said Iran continues to provide Houthis with weapons and military experience as proven by a recently intercepted shipment which contained 171 surface-to-air missiles, among other heavy weaponry, as well as 1.1 million barrels of oil.

The Yemeni ambassador said, “These Iranian practices will not stop without a firm a deterring stance by the international community, the United Nations, and this esteemed Council. This is because the main impediment which is standing in the way of peace in Yemen is Iran’s insistence on its aggressive behaviour and blackmail through its destructive tools, namely the Houthi militias, which serves Iran’s dangerous plan that aims to spread chaos, terrorism, and threats international maritime shipping lines in the Red Sea and Bab Al-Mandab Strait.”

Al-Saadi said the human suffering in Yemen would not end without an immediate ceasefire, followed by economic and humanitarian measures and resuming the political process to achieve a sustainable peace.
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