The Situation in the Middle East (Yemen) - Security Council, 9199th Meeting

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22-Nov-2022 02:08:08
Fresh Houthi attacks risk renewing conflict, humanitarian plight in Yemen, Special Envoy tells Security Council, urging maximum restraint.

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Speakers Urge Parties to Renew Truce, Join UN-Led Efforts for Lasting Peace

Recent attacks by the Houthi militia in two Yemeni cities risk triggering a military escalation and could further worsen a dire humanitarian situation, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen told the Security Council today as he called on the parties to exercise restraint and urgently agree to renew the nationwide truce that expired on 2 October.

Hans Grundberg said it is fortunate that there has not been a return to full-fledged war, as the absence of a major military escalation has facilitated his discussions with the parties and neighbouring countries. nbsp;Emphasizing efforts to engage the parties towards renewing the truce and aiming for a more comprehensive settlement of the conflict, he underscored the urgent need for a political process under United Nations auspices.

In recent weeks, the Houthis, or Ansar Allah, have attacked oil terminals and ports in Hadramawt and Shabwa governorates to deprive the Government of its main source of revenue, namely oil exports, he pointed out. nbsp;Those attacks have significant economic repercussions, undermine the welfare of all Yemenis and risk setting off a military escalation while also worsening the humanitarian situation. nbsp;The parties must urgently reach an agreement to renew the truce and exercise maximum restraint, he said.

Reena Ghelani, Director of Operations and Advocacy Division, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that although many of the expired truce’s provisions continue to hold, people need to see improvements in their everyday lives. nbsp;The truce began on 2 April.

Noting that the Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen is 55 per cent funded, she said that despite all challenges aid agencies are reaching 10.5 million people every month. nbsp;Pointing to localized clashes, landmines and unexploded ordnance, and hunger and acute food insecurity, among other issues, she warned that any escalation of fighting will send humanitarian efforts back to square one.

In the ensuing discussion, Council members echoed the Special Envoy’s calls for maximum restraint, warning that heightened tensions could lead to renewed hostilities. nbsp;Voicing concern about Houthi attacks, they called on that group to remove impediments to humanitarian access and put the interests of the Yemeni people before their own.

The United States’ representative, while welcoming the fact that key elements of the truce are holding, expressed concern that the Houthis are taking actions that run counter to strong international support for United Nations-led peace efforts. nbsp;Recent Houthi attacks on commercial vessels are increasing the suffering of the Yemeni people and threatening to plunge the country back into conflict, he said, urging the Houthis to “take another path” and choose to end eight years of war.nbsp;

The United Arab Emirates’ representative said the Houthi militia’s recent attacks severely threaten international maritime navigation, global energy supplies and the Yemeni economy. nbsp;He joined others in calling on the Houthis to remove all barriers impeding humanitarian access and to stop restricting the movement of humanitarian workers. nbsp;The Council should take measures, such as sanctions, to deter the Houthis from continuing to threaten Yemen’s security, he said.

The Russian Federation’s representative said all parties, particularly the Houthis, must demonstrate maximum restraint and work constructively with the Special Envoy. nbsp;For its part, the Council must not allow the results of the truce to be erased, he said, emphasizing the need for direct contact with the Houthis to break the current deadlock, facilitate stabilization, and pave the way for a fully-fledged political process.

Saudi Arabia’s representative said that while his country is among the largest donors supporting the Yemeni people, given the scale of assistance required, more effective ways are needed to respond to the crisis. nbsp;Emphasizing the need to curb the humanitarian arm of the Houthi militia, he said the Houthis must be classified as a terrorist group. nbsp;Reaffirming his country’s right to defend itself, he said it will respond firmly to threats to Gulf countries.

Yemen’s representative said the international community must recognize the Houthi militia as a terrorist organization, rather than merely condemn their terrorist attacks. nbsp;While optimism prevailed among the Yemeni people after eight years of war, their hopes dissipated when the terrorist Houthi militia, supported by Iran, chose escalation and refused to renew the truce. nbsp;Nonetheless, the Presidential Leadership Council remains committed to the truce and respects it today, he said.

Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Kenya, China, Gabon, Ireland, Norway, Brazil, France, Mexico, Albania, India and Ghana.

The meeting began at 3:03 p.m. and ended at 4:47 p.m.
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