Category Archives: Uncategorized

SECURITY COUNCIL BRIEFING OF THE SPECIAL ENVOY FOR YEMEN, 16 NOVEMBER 2018, TEXT AS DELIVERED

Mr. President,

Yemen has long been referred to as the forgotten war. I am grateful that this is no longer the case. Never has so much international attention and energy been given to this crisis, and rightly so. Yemen remains the largest humanitarian disaster in the world as we will hear from Mark Lowcock and David Beasley. The fight against famine is ongoing. Women, children and men are dying from preventable diseases. The economy remains on the verge of collapse.

This requires urgent action from all of us.

Public opinion and leaders have called urgently to remove the prospect of famine. This is a clear example of the international conscience. For this reason, I personally encourage the Council to support the five requests presented by Mark Lowcock in this very Chamber late October. It provides a very clear roadmap that we must all support.

Mr. President,

 

The conflict continues, and rages on. We see Hodeidah as the center of gravity of the war. And for this reason, we deeply welcome recent reports of the reduction of violence on Hodeidah fronts.

And we need it to last.

I am extremely grateful to all leaders and others who have called for a cessation of hostilities. There must be no temptation to restart that battle. As the mediator in this conflict, I strongly believe that nothing should be allowed to impede the chance of dialogue and negotiation.

This Council has consistently called on all the parties to avoid any humanitarian catastrophe. And Secretary-General Guterres recently reminded us of our fears in that regard, the other day. But the situation in Hodeidah is fragile and unstable. We need to take urgent action. As you  recall, we made some progress over the summer to reach a negotiated handover of the port of Hodeidah to the United Nations. I plan to visit Hodeidah next week along with my colleague Lise Grande, not least to revisit a UN supervisory role for the port and to draw attention to the continued need for a pause.

I am encouraged by the recent calls from all parties, the Government of Yemen in particular, and Ansar Allah, in addition to the Coalition, for the UN to step forward at this time on this issue. Let us build on this rather than retreat.

 

Mr. President,

 

With increased international attention has come a renewed commitment from the Yemeni parties to work on a political solution. I welcome President Hadi’s announcement to move swiftly to a political solution. And I know from my contacts in Sana’a that Ansar Allah is also committed to this. And with this in mind, I intend to reconvene the parties shortly – and to do so in Sweden. I thank the Swedish government, through the representative of Sweden present here, for their offer to host the consultations. I believe we are close to resolving the preparatory issues that will allow to make this happen. I am grateful to the Coalition for agreeing our proposed logistical arrangements, and to the Coalition and Oman for their agreement to facilitate the medical evacuation of some injured Yemenis out of Sana’a.

This is a crucial moment for Yemen. I have received firm assurances from the leadership of the Yemeni parties; the government of Yemen and Ansar Allah, that they are committed to attending these consultations. I believe they are genuine and I expect them to continue in that way, and to appear for these consultations, and indeed so do the Yemeni people, who are desperate for a political solution to a war in which they are the main victims.

Mr. President,

I have spent the last two months seeking support from the parties for an updated version of the Framework for Negotiations that I briefed you in this Council on 18 June, where I briefed you orally on the elements of such a framework. The Framework is based upon the three references, SCR 2216, as well as the progress made particularly in Kuwait, and I repeat again, as I have done in previous meetings of this council, gratitude to the Government of Kuwait for hosting those talks in 2016. After careful listening to the parties over the last few months, I am confident that this framework is in line with both the requirements of this Council, and the new realities of the conflict in Yemen. The Framework, however, is my vision. But its ideas are not mine alone. Every conversation, every negotiation which has gone before has, I hope, become the basis for this document. I have, as you would imagine, shared it with the parties, for their views, and ultimately, I hope, their acceptance, just as a basis for negotiation, and not to negotiate the text itself. That would be the matter that would bring the parties together in the coming weeks and months. And when the parties have had the opportunity to brief me on their views on that Framework,  I would like to put it in front of this Council, and seek your endorsement, so that we can use it as a basis for  the upcoming consultations on substance, and to agree a roadmap, ideally in the next round of consultations, towards a Transitional Agreement.

This Framework establishes the principles and parameters for UN-led, inclusive Yemeni negotiations to end the war, and restart a political transition process. It includes a set of interim security and political arrangements, including mechanisms, sequencing and guarantees for implementation. It is a very broad document, as it only intends to be a basis for detailed negotiations. But I do believe that the arrangements outlined and referred to, will allow for an end to the fighting inside of Yemen, the return of Yemen’s friendly relations with neighboring states and the restoring of state institutions.

And I believe that this Framework reflects, in fact and in words, the resolutions of this Council, and in no way derogates from them. My task is to fashion a road towards principled compromise, which allows the people of Yemen to live again in peace, and to set out a political solution that is available, and as I said before, it is there for taking.

 

Mr. President,

A mediator’s principal task is to bring the parties together to resolve their differences through dialogue and compromise rather than combat and conflict. This is what I hope we will soon, as we move forward.

We are doing all that we can to achieve these goals. But as I said, in April, in this chamber: events of war can always take peace off the table. We must not let that happen now.

We are working very hard to finalize the logistical arrangements. I will go to Sana’a next week for this purpose. I shall meet the Ansar Allah leader, Abdul Malik al-Houthi, with whom I have had detailed discussions in previous months, about the need for engagement, consultations, and ultimately negotiations. It will be useful for me to hear again his leadership on these matters. I will also be happy to travel myself, if necessary, with their delegation to the consultations, if that is needed.

 

Mr. President,

 

For a political settlement to be sustainable it must be inclusive, and it is a requirement of the resolutions affecting this conflict. And it must enjoy the support of the Yemeni people. I am fortunate to have the support of the Yemeni women advisory group, which not only came with us to Geneva, but is providing specific ideas on tactics and strategies as we move forward towards consultations.

We are also looking at using technology to strengthen inclusivity to provide an interactive platform for these voices which cannot travel, for the voices of those in Yemen, to be heard as we gather the parties around the table. In the 21st century, physical presence is not the only way to strengthen inclusion.

The Southern question is always on our minds. We are currently enjoying a period of calm, but the threat of violence, destabilization and instability is ever present. I have spent a lot of time listening to southern groups and exploring ways to address their concerns. Ultimately, the just resolution of the southern issue should be achieved, in my view, during the transitional period. It should meet the legitimate aspirations of the people of Yemen, and ensure that they enjoy the benefits of good governance.

Southern actors will clearly have a crucial role in safeguarding the outcomes of the peace process we are working on now and it is vital to secure their buy-in. It is my responsibility however to alert you that that there is unfinished business in the south of Yemen.

 

Mr. President,

 

I would like to take the opportunity to announce to members of this Council that we are about to conclude an agreement between the parties on the exchange of prisoners and detainees, it may well be the first signed agreement between the parties in this conflict. We made great progress. President Hadi was the first to urge us to focus on this, and I also had the support of Abdel Malek Al Houthi when I first met him. I welcome the commitment of all parties who have engaged in good faith; the Coalition, the Government of Yemen, and Ansar Allah. It is an important humanitarian gesture and a timely message of hope to the Yemeni people. I had hoped that we would have been able to announce the formalization of this agreement today, but I am sure it will happen in the coming days.

I strongly believe that the parties need to get together without condition, under our auspices, to jointly address the dire economic situation in Yemen including the rapid deterioration of the Yemeni Rial – a key contributing aspect of famine. It is useful to note, and important to give credit to the Government of Yemen, that the depreciation of the Rial which was alarming, has now flattened out. This should not be a matter subject to political consideration when the victims are the Yemeni people. This is not indeed a confidence-building measures. It is a moral responsibility and obligation of the parties to the Yemeni people. I am planning to convene soon a meeting of the Central Bank of Yemen, to be facilitated by the IMF, to agree on an action plan which would allow the Central Bank of Yemen to discharge its responsibilities across the country and for all the people of Yemen.

 

Finally, Mr. President,

We must seize this positive international momentum on Yemen. Attention to Yemen is a great asset, as is the unity of this Council.

I strongly believe that this is an opportunity at a crucial moment to pursue a comprehensive and inclusive political settlement to the conflict.

Indeed, Yemen can no longer afford to be referred as a forgotten war.

What I would ask you to consider, Mr. President, is that all our efforts should be directed towards at least two things. Firstly; the humanitarian priority, that Marc and David will refer to in a minute, which is the most important priority to the people of Yemen. And secondly; let us hope that there will be no acts which prevent the convening of the parties for consultations, in Sweden, in the coming weeks. This is an opportunity which has long been awaited by the people of Yemen. It is an opportunity which this council has long asked of the parties. I think we are almost there. We need to focus to make sure that nothing disrupts the path to that meeting.

Concerned for civilians in Yemen, UNHCR echoes calls for continued restraint

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Shabia Mantoo  to whom quoted text may be attributed  at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

World Food Programme Chief appeals for peace in Yemen as agency plans major scale-up of food aid

15 November 2018 – ROME

A heartfelt plea for an end to the fighting in Yemen has been issued by the Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme as he concluded a three-day visit to the country which has become the scene of the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.

“What Yemen needs is peace,” said David Beasley. “Only then will it be possible to re-start the economy, get the currency under control and start paying public salaries, so people can have the money they need to buy food and other basics.”

In the face of rapidly rising hunger, WFP is preparing to scale up to provide food and cash-based assistance for as many as 12 million people whose lives have been torn apart by the conflict. WFP is already reaching 7-8 million people with food assistance every month.

“My heart is breaking after what I saw at the hospital in Hodeidah,” said Beasley. “Small children, so malnourished they’re little more than skin and bone, lying there with hardly the strength to breathe. In the name of humanity, I urge all warring parties to put an end to this horrific war. Let the children live and let the people start to rebuild their lives.”

For WFP video shot in Yemen this week: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/yKhABAHzKH

For WFP photos shot in Yemen this week: https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/jvj2YsoPt3

To request an interview with WFP chief David Beasley, WFP Yemen Country Director Stephen Anderson, or WFP Spokesperson Abeer Etefa (now in Yemen), please contact david.orr@wfp.org

Beasley is one of a number of top UN officials who will be in New York to address a UN Security Council session on Yemen starting at 15.00 on Friday, EST. The event will be webcast: www.webtv.un.org

#                           #                            #

The United Nations World Food Programme – saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media

For more information please contact (email address: firstname.lastname@wfp.org):

Reem Nada, WFP/Cairo, Mob. +201066634522
Steve Taravella, WFP/New York, Tel. +1-646-556-6909, Mob. +1-202-770-5993
Challiss McDonough, WFP/Washington, Tel. +1-202-653-1149, Mob. +1-202-774-4026
Francis Mwanza, WFP/London, Tel.  +44 (0)20 3857 7411, Mob. +44 (0)7968 008474
Bettina Luescher, WFP/Berlin, Mob. +49-160 9926 1730
Herve Verhoosel, WFP/Geneva, Mob. + 41798428057
David Orr, WFP/Rome, Mob. + 393402466831

1,500 pregnant women at risk of death as main hospital in Hodeidah becomes inaccessible

By Dr. Luay Shabaneh, UNFPA’s Director for the Arab region

Cairo, 14 November 2018

UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, fears that among the 10,000 pregnant women caught in the fighting in Hodeidah City, the lives of an estimated 1,500 who are likely to encounter complications during pregnancy and childbirth might be at risk as the city’s only hospital that can provide emergency care becomes inaccessible.

Health facilities across Hodeida are closed or functioning at minimum capacity, which is straining Al-Thawra Hospital, the governorate’s major neonatal care facility that witnesses some 400 to 500 deliveries per month, including more than 200 caesarian sections.

UNFPA is leading efforts to provide immediate humanitarian assistance with a focus on essential reproductive health supplies, life-saving medicines and incentives for health staff performing safe deliveries and caesarian sections.

UNFPA remains committed to supporting the Yemeni people and working to prevent this unfolding humanitarian catastrophe.

We call on all parties to the conflict to respect their legal obligations under International Humanitarian Law to ensure the protection of health workers, patients, health facilities, and communities and to facilitate humanitarian access to areas where people need our help the most

Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock’s Statement on Situation in Yemen

New York, 13 November 2018

I echo the statement of the Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, calling upon all parties to the conflict in Yemen to show restraint. All parties must live up to their obligations under international humanitarian law. I ask that the parties implement a cessation of hostilities, not least in and around all the infrastructure and facilities on which the aid operation and commercial importers rely.

As I told the Security Council on 23 October, and supporting today’s statement by the Special Envoy, the UN is ready to play an enhanced role in ensuring the appropriate use of key facilities, especially around Hudaydah.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS: TRACK II EFFORTS COMPLEMENT OFFICIAL NEGOTIATIONS, AND LAY THE FOUNDATION FOR PEACE-BUILDING IN YEMEN

6 November 2018

The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, stressed the importance of ongoing Track II efforts, as complementary to official negotiations in Yemen, indicating that it is crucial to work on peace-building in Yemen, in parallel to official diplomatic efforts, known as Track I, to end the war. He added that “the real work in Yemen starts the day after we reach a political deal. We should all work to prepare for that day.”

Griffiths met Tuesday morning with a group of tribal leaders and civil society workers, from Hadhramaut and Marib, on the sidelines of a workshop organized by Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies and Oxford Research Group, in Amman.

At the same time, the office of the Special Envoy hosted a meeting with a group of international and local partners who work on Track II initiatives in Yemen. This meeting comes in the same context of supporting the complementary role of such initiatives to the track of official negotiations. Track II partners also shared perspectives on the political process, based on the consultation exercises which they conducted with a broad range of Yemeni stakeholders

Track II refers to unofficial, informal peacemaking efforts and initiatives carried out by mediators with various societal groups, including civil society organizations, women’s organizations, political groups, youth movements, religious groups, professional organizations and trade unions. Such efforts and activities run parallel to and in support of Track I. Since mid-2015, the Office of the Special Envoy has collaborated with a number of international partners on a wide-range of Track II efforts.

Dozens of children at risk as clashes in Hudaydah near hospital – UNICEF

A file photograph of patients undergoing treatment at the Al Thawra hospital in Hudaydah, Yemen.

6 November 2018 – Humanitarian Aid

 

Intense fighting near a major hospital in the Yemeni port city of Hudaydah has put scores of children at “imminent risk of death”, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned on Tuesday, calling on the warring parties to stop hostilities near the medical centre and allow those in need to safely access treatment.

In a statement, Henrietta H. Fore, the Executive Director of UNICEF, said that children, in particular, “cannot afford” for Al Thawra hospital to be caught up in the fighting.

“Medical staff and patients in the hospital have confirmed hearing heavy bombing and gunfire. Access to and from the hospital, the only functioning one in the area, is now imperilled,” she said.

According to the UN agency, there are 59 children currently at the hospital, including some 25 under treatment at its intensive care unit.

“[We] call on all parties to cease hostilities near and around the hospital, and to ensure that civilians can safely access the hospital from all sides,” added Ms. Fore, urging them to abide by their obligations under international law to protect civilian infrastructure from harm.

Intense fighting … is now dangerously close to Al Thawra hospital – putting the lives of 59 children, including 25 in the ICU, at imminent risk of death – UNICEF chief Fore

The head of UNICEF went on to note that further escalation in fighting will jeopardize the agency’s efforts to deliver lifesaving assistance to many in dire need, including acutely malnourished children.

In addition, there are reports that fighting has intensified around Hudaydah port – the lifeline through which nearly 80 per cent of humanitarian aid, fuel and commercial goods flow into the war-torn country, she added

“The toll in lives could be catastrophic if the port is damaged, destroyed or blocked,”

Risk of ‘full-blown famine’ – UN emergency food relief agency

About a third of the districts in the war-torn country are at a risk of famine and nearly half of the country’s children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition. In addition, there has been a 44 per cent increase in children aged 6 to 59 months with severe acute malnutrition – the most extreme and visible form of undernutrition.

The country also represents the worst humanitarian and food-security crisis in the world, according to the UN World Food Programme (WFP).

“The situation in [Yemen] is currently categorized as a pre-famine,” the UN agency’s spokesperson Hervé Verhoosel, toldreporters at a news briefing at the UN Office at Geneva (UNOG).

An assessment is underway to determine whether it fulfilled the criteria to amount to a “full-blown famine,” he added.

UNICEF/Abdulhaleem
The port of Hudaydah in war-torn Yemen is one of the few lifelines for humanitarian aid and fuel into the country.

Response ‘cannot be done alone’

In response to the crisis, UN agencies and humanitarian partners have been providing humanitarian aid and protection to populations across the nation.

The UN World Health Organization (WHO), has established some 51 therapeutic feeding centres in 17 governorates, 27 of them were opened this year to provide life-saving treatment for severely malnourished children with medical complications.

In addition, more than 22 million people – nearly 80 per cent of the Yemen’s pre-war population – remain dependent on humanitarian support.

“The magnitude of the problem requires a collective, collaborative and robust response that cannot be done alone,” saidTarik Jašareviæ, a spokesperson for the UN health agency.

اليونيسف: الأطفال اليمنيون في مستشفى الحديدة يواجهون خطر الموت الوشيك

الطفل صالح البالغ من العمر 4 أشهر مع أمه نورا داخل مستشفى الحديدة الرئيسي. ما يقارب من نصف مليون طفل ومليوني أم في اليمن مهددون بالموت بسبب النقص الحاد في التغذية بسبب الصراع الدائر هناك.

6 تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2018 – السلم والأمن

حذرت المديرة التنفيذية لليونيسف هنرييتا فور من تعرض الأطفال في مستشفى الحديدة في اليمن “لخطر الموت الوشيك”، في ضوء اقتراب القتال العنيف بشكل خطير من مستشفى الثورة، مما يعرض حياة 59 طفلا، بينهم 25 في وحدة العناية المركزة.

وقالت المديرة التنفيذية لمنظمة الأمم المتحدة المعنية بالأطفال: “الطاقم الطبي والمرضى في المستشفى قد أكدوا سماعهم لأصوات القصف الشديد وإطلاق النيران. والخطر الآن يتهدد إمكانية الوصول إلى المستشفى والخروج منه. وهو المستشفى الوحيد العامل في المنطقة.”

وأضافت، في بيان صحفي أصدرته اليوم الثلاثاء، أنه “لن يكون بوسع الأطفال بالتحديد تحمل وصول الاقتتال إلى مستشفى الثورة؛ ففي الحديدة والمحافظات المجاورة لها، يعاني 40% من أصل 400 ألف طفل من سوء التغذية الحاد والشديد، ويتم نقل بعض الأشد مرضا منهم إلى المستشفى لتلقي الرعاية العاجلة.”

“وتفيد التقارير باشتداد القتال أيضا حول ميناء الحديدة، الذي يدخل عبره نحو 80% من الإمدادات الإنسانية والوقود والسلع التجارية التي تدخل إلى البلاد،” بحسب البيان الصحفي، الذي حذر من أن “الخسائر في الأرواح قد تكون كارثية في حال تَلِف الميناء أو تدمّر أو تعطّل الوصول إليه.”

وبينما تقدم طواقم اليونيسف العاملة على الأرض المساعدات، بما فيها الإمدادات المنقذة للحياة، مثل الأدوية والمياه النظيفة والأغذية العلاجية، لعلاج الأطفال الذين يعانون من سوء التغذية الحاد، إلّا أن “المزيد من التصعيد في القتال سيعرض هذه الجهود للخطر،” كما أشارت هنرييتا فور.

ودعت اليونيسف “جميع الأطراف إلى وقف الأعمال القتالية بالقرب من المستشفى وحوله، وضمان تمكين المدنيين من الوصول من جميع الجهات إلى المستشفى بأمان، وضمان الالتزام بالقانون من أجل وقف الهجمات على المدنيين والبنية التحتية المدنية بما فيها ميناء الحديدة”.

NOTE TO CORRESPONDENTS ON YEMEN

4 November 2018

The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, held a consultative meeting with a group of independent Yemeni figures, who represent a wide spectrum of the Yemeni society, to discuss the current situation in Yemen, and his endeavors to resume the political process. More than 30% of the Yemeni figures taking part in this meeting were women. This one-day meeting, which convened in Amman under Chatham House rules, is the second of its kinds that brings together independent Yemeni figures and the Special Envoy, as the first meeting took place in Wilton Park-London, in August 2018.

Griffiths stressed his keenness to engage with various Yemeni figures, as well as representatives of civil society and women groups, as representatives of the voice of Yemeni citizens at large. The Special Envoy discussed with the participants his ongoing efforts to achieve progress on Confidence Building Measures, and to resume the political process swiftly.

Discussions during this meeting covered a wide range of issues, including the deteriorating humanitarian and economic conditions, the lack of basic services, in addition to necessary steps for de-escalating the conflict in Yemen.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS TO CNN: THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO DE-ESCALATE THE CONFLICT IN YEMEN

22 November 2018

The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths stressed the importance of turning the calls for de-escalation in Yemen into action. Speaking to Becky Anderson, on CNN’s Connect the World on Thursday, Griffiths mentioned that there is “a very strong desire to move from war to peace in Yemen”, adding that the challenge now is to turn the calls for de-escalation into action. “What we now urgently need to do is to see what are the first steps that we can make on de-escalating this conflict to give some space for the political process.” Griffiths clarified that while a ceasefire is not a pre-condition for resuming political consultations, “the urgent need now is to do something on the issue of downing the temperature of the war while we move towards talks.” The Special Envoy confirmed that he is working on re-launching the political talks this month, adding that no firm date and venue have been decided yet.

When asked about the alternative to reaching peace in Yemen, Griffiths warned that “the alternative is devastating. It’s famine, of course, which is a viral disease, completely different in scale from hunger. That’s the first problem. Secondly, it’s terrorism which flourishes in chaos. Thirdly, it’s threats to the stability of the region, the trade routes which come up through the Red Sea into Europe. Yemen is positioned in a way which affects us all, not just the people of the region.”
Watch the full interview by clicking here.