غريفيثس يؤكد الحاجة العاجلة لقيام الأمم المتحدة بدور رئيسي في الحديدة

14/12/2018

شدد المبعوث الدولي الخاص لليمن مارتن غريفيثس على الحاجة العاجلة لإنشاء نظام مراقبة رادع ومزود بالقدرات اللازمة في الحديدة لضمان امتثال الأطراف لتعهدها بالانسحاب التدريجي من ميناء ومدينة الحديدة في إطار وقف لإطلاق النار بأنحاء المحافظة.

وفي إحاطة عبر دائرة تليفزيونية لمجلس الأمن الدولي، قال غريفيثس إن الطرفين، الحكومة اليمنية وجماعة أنصار الله، أكدا له أنهما سيرحبان بوجود هذا النظام.

“بناء على توجيهات الأمين العام، تعمل الإدارات المعنية في نيويورك وغيرها على وضع الخطط للانتشار العاجل بناء على القرارات التي سيتخذها مجلس الأمن. لقد كانت الحديدة محل الاهتمام العالمي على مدى عام، وكان لذلك أسباب وجيهة. إن الحديدة شريان حياة حيوي للبرنامج الإنساني الذي يعتمد عليه ملايين اليمنيين. التوقعات المروعة بحدوث المجاعة، جعلت حل مسألة الحديدة أمرا عاجلا وضروريا. لذلك، تدور طبيعة ما اتفق عليه من انسحاب (القوات) حول الاحتياجات الإنسانية، ويعد السماح للأمم المتحدة بالقيام بدور رئيسي في الميناء خطوة أولى حيوية.”

وأكد غريفيثس أهمية أن يحدث ذلك خلال أيام. وذكر أن الأمم المتحدة ستقوم بدور رئيسي في دعم شركة اليمن لموانئ البحر الأحمر في عملية الإدارة والتفتيش في الحديدة والصليف ورأس عيسى.

وسيشمل ذلك مراقبة محسنة من آلية الأمم المتحدة للتحقق والتفتيش. وقد وضع فريق الأمم المتحدة في اليمن خطة تتطلب دعما محددا من الدول الأعضاء.

وقد قامت منسقة الأمم المتحدة للشؤون الإنسانية في اليمن ليز غراندي وزملاؤها، كما قال غريفيثس، بدور مهم في تشكيل الاتفاقات حول الحديدة. وسيقوم الفريق بدور رئيسي في الجوانب المدنية للاتفاق.

وكان غريفيثس قد ذكر في مؤتمر صحفي أمس في السويد أن الطرفين طلبا من الأمم المتحدة، مزودة بولاية من مجلس الأمن، القيام بدور رئيسي في الحديدة لضمان تطبيق الالتزامات الخاصة بالحديدة.

النص الكامل لاتفاق استوكهولم

تعز

توصل الطرفان، في مشاورات السويد، إلى تفاهم متبادل لتهدئة الوضع في تعز مع إمكانية فتح الممرات الإنسانية للسماح بالمرور الآمن للبضائع والناس عبر الخطوط الأمامية والحد من القتال في المحافظة ونشر عمليات نزع الألغام وإطلاق وتبادل الأسرى.

واتفق الطرفان على تشكيل لجنة مشتركة، برئاسة الأمم المتحدة، لتنفيذ ذلك. ومن المقرر أن تجتمع اللجنة قريبا وتتفق على خطة لإحلال “السلام المؤقت” في المركز الحضري الضخم في تعز.

تبادل الأسرى

قبل الوصول إلى السويد، اتفق الطرفان على تشكيل لجنة مشتركة حول الإطلاق المتبادل للأسرى. وقد اجتمعت اللجنة بشكل متكرر في السويد. وأبدى غريفيثس سعادته بدعم اللجنة الدولية للصليب الأحمر لتلك الجهود.

وأعرب عن الأمل في تبادل ما يصل إلى 4000 أسير في منتصف يناير/كانون الثاني.

The Secretary-General — Joint Press Encounter with Swedish Foreign Minister and Special Envoy of the Secretary-General Martin Griffiths on Intra-Yemeni Consultations

Rimbo, Sweden, 13 December 2018

Secretary-General: Thank you very much for being here.

We are living the beginning of the end of one of the biggest tragedies of the 21st century — the conflict in Yemen, the worst humanitarian situation that we face.

We need, first of all, to pay tribute to the courage and determination of the two delegations that were able to overcome many difficulties, many different positions, many obstacles, and to really start a serious process to build a common future.

Today’s agreement is particularly important because it includes Hodeidah. And it is my deep belief that the question of Hodeidah was the “make it or break it” [one], in relation to making sure that this could be the first step of a process that, we hope, will lead to the end of the conflict – or if it would just be a meeting between two delegations with some positive aspects but without a structural change in the situation that weface.

I strongly believe that the fact that it was possible to come to an agreement on Hodeidah will have a huge impact, both for the security situation of the area and for the life of the people of the area, but [also] a huge impact in the humanitarian situation of the country. The fact that we came to an agreement on Hodeidah – that many would consider the most difficult of the problems on the table – gives us the hope that this process will now be moving step by step and that we will be able overcome all the obstacles that we face, knowing that only a politic solution can solve the problem. There is no military solution in Yemen. I think all parties have understood that. And the agreement of today is a demonstration that they are serious in moving with all the obstacles, with all the difficulties. This will be a complex and lengthy process, but the parties want to move towards a solution and that is for me the most important signal of today’s meeting.

I want once again to thank our host. I want to pay tribute to the team that Martin Griffiths has led. I followed these negotiations closely and I have never seen someone shuttling so much, from capital to capital, speaking to so many people, so many times, to make sure it would be possible to come to where we are. And I pay tribute once again to the two delegations that were able to come to the understandings of today.

But allow me to repeat what I said in the session. I worked a lot with Yemen as High Commissioner for Refugees and I can tell you, the generosity, the solidarity, the hospitality of the people of Yemen is absolutely outstanding. I have seen Yemenis sharing the very little they had with Somalis coming to the coast, risking their lives to support those that were seeking protection in Yemen. Yemen which had problems, including already during the civil war, still receiving Somalis with their doors, their hearts and their borders open. It is a lesson for the world when unfortunately, so many borders, so many doors and so many hearts are closed today.

The Yemenis deserve all the efforts that the international community can make. And I felt also during this process that all the key regional actors and all the members of theinternational community, the permanent five members of the Security Council, all the elected members of the Security Council, all other countries that have direct or indirect contact with Yemen–they were all committed to make sure that peace would prevail and that we would really have a meaningful first step in the direction of peace.

There is a long way to go. There are lots of issues to discuss. There are lots of agreements still needed. This is just a beginning. But at least, it’s the beginning of a process in which there is a clear will to come to an end result that is peace in Yemen and the future that the Yemeni people deserve.

Q: Could you please share with us what kind of forces we should expect in Hodeidah? And is there an agreement on the airstrikes?

SG: There is a ceasefire declared for the whole Governorate of Hodeidah in the agreement. There will be, both for the city and the harbour, a withdrawal of all forces. And of course, the order will be maintained – I mean, in the harbour, the UN will assume a very important monitoring role, and in the city, the order will be maintained by local forces in accordance with Yemeni law. In relation to other areas of the territory, there was not yet and agreement in relation to a ceasefire. But that is why I said this is the beginning of a process – but it is a very meaningful beginning. Because this was indeed the central question that was paralyzing all the possibilities of progress.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General if someone wants to be optimistic, then we see the agreement that the cup is half full, the glass is half full so can be optimistic on this side. Can I ask you what… Can the United Nations be a guarantor to the implementation of the three agreements and what will happen if one or both parties did not fulfil his commitment? And can I ask your Special Envoy: what was your suggestion for Sana’a and Aden airportand what was the sticking point which, let’s say, postponed the agreement?

SG: I would like to change the usual image of the glass half full and half empty. If this is the glass, the glass was empty. What we did was to start putting some water in the glass. But there is still a long way to go. So this was the beginning of filling the glass. What is important is that it is a beginning that is meaningful. If we only have an exchange of prisoners, it would be very important for the prisoners, it would be very meaningful for the families, but it would not really mean progress on central issues. But everybody agrees that the most difficult problem we had on the table was Hodeidah. And the fact that it was possible to have an agreement on Hodeidah proves that we are really, still, with the bottle ready to go on pouring water until the glass is full. And the glass is full is: peace in Yemen with a full Yemeni political solution for Yemeni problems. So it’s not yet even half full. We are beginning to fill the glass, but we are determined to move on.

Now, I do not have the possibility to decide what the Security Council will do. My wish is that there will be a robust Security Council resolution in relation to the agreement that was reached, to allow for a very effective mechanism of monitoring. And there were a number of countries that put their services at our disposal with the technologies that are necessary for that, to make sure that the redeployment of forces will be effectivelymonitored and that the agreements will be effectively implemented. Implementation is crucial. Obviously, if one of the sides does not implement the agreement, that will kill the agreement. And we hope it will not happen because there was such a commitment to come to this agreement and many obstacles were removed. This was not an easy thing to do. I remember when we left yesterday at 2:00 in the morning after serious discussions. And when I in the early morning asked him [Martin Griffiths] an important information, when he got it he sent it at 4:00 in the morning, so I believe this gentleman did not sleep. So there was a lot of work on this. But what I feel is that that work demonstrates that there is a serious commitment to make sure that the agreement is implemented. And the proof is that in other areas, we are not yet there, and we will go on discussing. Questions related to the economic dimensions, questions related to the airport –and I will leave it to Martin– are not yet solved. They are being discussed but… So we concentrated a lot, as you can imagine, on Hodeidah because of the importance, strategic importance of the issue from all aspects and also the symbolic aspect, to give, I’d say, a clear demonstration that we are indeed moving forward. But in relation to the airport, please.

Martin Griffiths: As the Secretary-General says, we are still going to be negotiating on a few issues which we had hope to cross the line on today. And in fact, as we were here for the closing ceremony, behind the scenes, we had our colleagues bringing texts to and from both sides of the room. I don’t think it would be right to give you a specific outline of the kind of things we would like to see on the airport but it is clear – and it is public knowledge – that the starting point on the airport is opening it up to commercial flights, maybe domestic first, and that the UN wants to see that airport open as soon as possible, as agreed by the parties. And I would like to think that over the next week, maybe less, we might find an agreement. We don’t have to be here to get an agreement and that, I think, is the point the Secretary-General made in the closing ceremony. We are going to keep on negotiating. Sweden will continue without Sweden. Can I just reinforce the point the Secretary-General made: Hodeidah was a difficult one to do – as you know, you’ve been following it. It’s the center of gravity of the war in Yemen. It has been a consistent issue of negotiation. We are very proud. I think the parties have asked the United Nations, perhaps with a good mandate of the Security Council – there will be a meeting of the Council tomorrow-, to take a real role in ensuring that their commitments are properly and robustly monitored and reported on. This has not happened in Yemen before. This is a first.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, when will the port of Hodeidah be opened up for traffic so aid can start to arrive in Yemen?

SG: To give you a perfectly honest answer: I don’t know. We will do everything possible to make it happen as soon as possible.

Q: Then how can we trust this agreement?

SG: I don’t ask you to trust the agreement at this moment. Let’s see how the agreement is implemented and if the agreement is properly implemented, as we believe it will be, you will then find the trust in it.

Q: Mr. Guterres do you plan on trying to involve the foreign parties in this conflict such as Saudi Arabia and Iran in coming talks? And can there really be a lasting solution without their direct involvement?

SG: It is clear that these are Yemeni-led negotiations, intra-Yemeni negotiations. But of course, the countries you mentioned and several others are very relevant in the context of the region and are very relevant in the context of the Yemen conflict. And so, obviously, there has been very relevant consultations with the two that you mentioned and all other regional parties. I must say, I am deeply grateful for the very constructive approach that I felt in the last few weeks in order to facilitate the creation of the conditions for this agreement to be possible.

Q: With regard to Hodeidah, are there any particular regions that it will be withdrawn from? Do you have support from the United States with regard to you going tomorrow tothe Security Council?

SG: First of all, there are clear indications on how this will be implemented on the ground. There were maps that were discussed and seen. So we are not talking of things in the abstract. We are talking [about] very concrete things. And there is an annex to the agreement with the details that will also be available for the Security Council. I do believe that all the permanent members of the Security Council and all the electedmembers of the Security Council will be supportive. But I mean, I cannot speak for them today. In the contacts I had with the Security Council before, I felt that there was a clear indication of a positive inclination for a resolution of the Security Council post-agreement. And of course, that resolution, from my perspective, would be very important to give a robust mechanism of monitoring and verification. And I have to say that the United States, that you have mentioned, not only have showed positive indications in relation to that but also the availability of technological means to allow for the monitoring to be very effective.

Q: Mr. Secretary-General, we have not seen the parties signing the Hodeidah agreement. Why? When are we going to see them sign the agreement? Also, what are the main areas of disagreement regarding the Central Bank and Taiz?

SG: It was never foreseen that there would be a signature. We agreed on a text and the two parties were very clear on their support to that and on the support to the implementation. So there was not… As this is an ongoing process with different areas, we have now reached agreement on three of them, and there will be new agreements on new aspects as time goes by. We did not foresee a signature ceremony. That, in our opinion, would not be necessary. In relation to Taiz, there was an understanding and so I believe that we will have no difficulty in what we now want to have in relation to access, corridors, demining and all the other aspects. I believe that there was complete agreement between the two sides. In relation to the other aspects, there is still a lot to discuss. I believe we all felt how important it is, namely for people to receive their salaries. We all felt how important it is for people to Sana’a to be able to travel. So these are things that still need more time to find the formulas that can be acceptable for both sides – even if in principle, both sides agree that these things should move forward. But, as you know, there are still many areas in which there is a clear division and so it will take some time to be able to overcome the differences of position that still exist. But our determination is to move forward as quickly as possible and to push more as quickly as possible for salaries to be able to be paid and for the measures of economic reform that are necessary to be taken, and at the same time, to make sure that we find a way to allow for the Sana’a airport to be open.

Griffiths: Can I just add to that? As the Secretary-General said, there are very specific texts. This is not just wishful thinking. There are texts which have been agreed word by word — that is why it has taken us some time. The withdrawals, you had the question: “How do we know if it’s happening?” There are phases by the days, of what needs to happen from what are to the other in Hodeidah. This is tangible, real, verifiable, monitorable agreements. Of course, you can’t get agreement on everything. These two parties still have a lot to do to come together on the issues of sovereignty and so forth – of course they do. But Hodeidah is a practical agreement worked out by experts on both sides. And I think the reason why we are being slightly careful about giving any details is that this will be something that will be put before the Security Council tomorrow and it will be for them to decide how they would like to see it implemented. But every sign is that they would be very willing to do so and that is a first. These will be the first withdrawals of any forces in the history of this conflict. And it will be done in the area of the greatest sensitivity, difficulty and danger. That’s whatthose two sides have agreed.

Q: You mentioned that the UN will play a role in the port in Hodeidah. Can you expand on that? And secondly, officials from the Yemeni Government have been saying that we canexpect some kind of pullout in the second phase from the Houthis within 21 days or so and we should also see them withdrawn from the other ports. Can you comment on that?

SG: Yes, it was agreed that there would be a withdrawal, not only from the port, from the city, of all forces. The timeframe that we are preparing to make sure that they work is short. There will be two phases – which are agreed. It will be short. We need to now put in place the mechanism of verification on the ground. It is obvious that the UN will play an important role in the port, probably a monitoring role, of course there is a management of the port that exist. There is a lot to be done to make sure that the port fully corresponds to our expectations, which is to be an infrastructure able to provide what was lacking: the capacity for the Yemen population to have all the humanitarianassistance they need and the Yemen economy to benefit from a safe entry point. And as you said, it is not only this port, the three are covered by the same agreement.

Griffiths: And if I may just add and reinforce that last point, Secretary-General. This agreement on Hodeidah, made in a very difficult place, is of extraordinary importance for humanitarian reasons. We’ve had with us throughout the 6-7 days here, people from humanitarian agencies that are present. The design of the withdrawal, first of all from the ports – three ports – very quickly, within days, and then from the city, of both sides disengaging, is designed in order to open up that east-west road so that humanitarian pipeline – which is crucial for the survival of those people in Yemen who need humanitarian aid, is opened up again, as it is not at the moment. This has been agreed by both sides. Thank you.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — REMARKS AT CLOSING OF THE INTRA-YEMENI CONSULTATIONS IN SWEDEN

Rimbo, 13 December 2018

[as delivered]

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

I would like to thank Foreign Minister Margot Wallström and the Swedish government for hosting this event and for your warm welcome. I would also like to thank my Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and his team for their tireless efforts in this endeavour.

Many governments played a crucial role to make this happen. I would like to thank the Saudi-led coalition, the Sultanate of Oman, and the Government of Kuwait for their concrete support to make this happen. And also the international community and especially the group of Ambassadors to Yemen that have been here in Sweden to support these talks. Your input has been very valuable.

But most of all, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to you, distinguished members of the Yemeni delegations. Thank you for coming here to discuss a better future for Yemen. What you have achieved so far is an important step for the people of Yemen and I thank you.

The conflict in Yemen has been going on for four years now. Four devastating years of suffering for the Yemeni people.

As we all know, Yemen is the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 24 million people – three-quarters of the population – need some form of assistance and protection. Some 20 million people are food insecure. And 10 million of these people do not know how they will obtain their next meal.

You, the parties present here today, have the possibility to change this. You have the future of Yemen in your hands and we have a precious opportunity. And I am glad to see that you have made real progress here in Sweden. You have been working hard during this week. And it has yielded several important results. That is an achievement. But there are also pending issues and we will move on with those pending issues without interruption. We want to make sure that we make progress at any moment for the benefit of the Yemeni people.

I spoke to President Hadi this morning and he expressed his full support and appreciation of all the accomplishments you have made here, and I thank him for this. I would also like to take the opportunity to thank the leadership of Ansarallah and their allies for their constructive engagement with our proposals.

You have reached an agreement on Hodeidah port and city, which will see a mutual re-deployment of forces from the port and the city, and the establishment of a Governorate-wide ceasefire. The UN will play a leading role in the port. This will facilitate the humanitarian access and the flow of goods to the civilian population. It will improve the living conditions for millions of Yemenis.

You have reached a mutual understanding to ease the situation in Taizz. We hope this will lead to the opening of humanitarian corridors and the facilitation of demining.

Before you came here, you had already agreed on a prisoners’ exchange. Now, you have agreed on a timeline and details for implementing the exchange, allowing thousands – I repeat, thousands – of Yemenis to be reunited with their families.

And finally, very important step for the peace process, you have agreed to engage in the discussions on a Negotiating Framework in the next meeting. This is a critical element of any future political settlement to end the conflict.

Based on your constructive engagement here in Sweden, we have a better understanding of the positions of the parties. And you have agreed to meet again to continue to discuss this further at the end of January during the next round of negotiations. But between now and January, we will always be available to go on discussing and trying to reach progress in all the dossiers that are still pending for discussion and agreement.

What you have agreed here will mean a lot for the future of Yemen. It will mean a lot for the Yemeni people who will see concrete results in their daily lives.

And allow me to make a personal statement and to pay a personal tribute to the people of Yemen.

I was High Commissioner for Refugees during 10 years and during these 10 years, I visited Yemen several times. Somali refugees were coming to Yemen – a country that is of course a poor country, and with enormous problems. The borders of Yemen, the doors of the Yemeni people, the hearts of Yemeni people were always open to Somali refugees. They were granted prima facie refugee status. And when we look at the world today and the difficulties refugees face in so many parts of the world, we need to pay tribute to the generosity, to the hospitality of the Yemeni people.

The Yemeni people has demonstrated a solidarity with other people in need that deserves our tribute. And that deserves us to do everything possible, as the international community, to support Yemenis in finding Yemeni solutions for their own problems.

The agreements today mean a lot, not only for the Yemeni people but for humanity if this can be a starting point for peace and for ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen.

Shukran. Thank you very much.

THE YEMENI WOMEN’S TECHNICAL ADVISORY GROUP PLAYS AN ACTIVE ROLE DURING THE SWEDEN CONSULTATIONS

 

12 December 2018

On the sidelines of the Sweden Consultations, the Yemeni Women’s Technical Advisory Group held meetings with the two parties as well as members of the diplomatic community and the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Ms. Margot Wallström.

The Technical Advisory Group discussed possible ways of bringing the voices of Yemeni women to the peace-making process. The Group has also engaged in presenting strategy papers and proposals that guide the Special Envoy in his mediation role to bring the war to an end.

The Yemeni Women’s Technical Advisory Group was formed by the Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen (OSESGY), in line with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325(2000) and 1820 (2008) as well as the outcomes of the Yemeni National Dialogue Conference, which calls for a 30% quota for women in public positions as well as in negotiations delegations and committees. The Group which comprises eight women working with the Office of the Special Envoy for this round of consultations are:  Afraa Al-Hariri; Afrah al-Zuba; Asmahan Al-Alas; Balqis Abu-Osba’a; Enas Al-Arashy; Maeen Sultan; Najat Jumaan; and Sumayya Al-Hussam.

MARTIN GRIFFITHS COMMENDS THE POSITIVE SPIRIT IN THE SWEDEN CONSULTATIONS

8 December 2018

The Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, commends the positive spirit the two parties are demonstrating in the Sweden Consultations.

“The two parties are engaged in a serious and constructive way in discussing the details of confidence building measures, the reduction of violence, and the framework for negotiations. We hope we will achieve progress during this round of consultations”.

Griffiths reiterates the importance of continued restraint on the ground and calls on the two parties to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. “We are working to the background of a very fragile situation in Yemen. We hope that de-escalation will be maintained on different frontlines, to give a chance for progress to be achieved on the political consultations”.

SPECIAL ENVOY’S OPENING REMARKS AT PEACE CONSULTATIONS FOR YEMEN

Sweden, 6 December 2018 – 

Thank you very much. Thank you very much indeed. And thank you through Your Excellency and the Foreign Minister of Sweden, Margot Wallstrom, thank you to your government, for your hosting, for your welcome, as you say a very warm welcome in a slightly less warm country, and so thank you for having us here in this remarkable location. I’m very grateful to you for doing this, to want to, and this efforts to make this happen. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

I would like also to extend my gratitude to the delegations. You’re here, it’s not easy, it’s been more than two years since you have sat down together, and we’re very well aware that there are many difficult decisions taken even to be here and of course there’ll be challenges in the days ahead, but we’re very grateful to you for your travel and for your presence.

And I’d also like to thank the Saudi-led coalition, the Sultanate of Oman, and the Government of Kuwait for their support in making this happen, in getting us here. Many many governments played a large part in making this morning take place, and I’m very grateful to them and I know the Secretary-General of the United Nations is equally so.

Today marks, we hope, the resumption of a political process. After two and a half years, without a formal political process, the convening of the two delegations here is an important milestone. It demonstrates to the international community here represented and to whom we speak to each other, and most importantly to the people of Yemen that are ready to come together in the name of a peaceful political solution to the conflict. I have received numerous statements of support for these consultations from your respective leaderships and I’m very grateful to them for that. Moreover, during the past weeks, both parties, both parties have issued calls for reduction of violence, for a de-scalation to use that word, of military operations, which is of course important as a backdrop to the talks that we will be having here to the consultations will be having here. Such a reduction on violence and restraint on the battlefield has a significant impact on the lives of Yemenis, but it’s also a signal to the people of Yemen that we are here with serious intent to pursue a political solution.

Today, I’m also pleased to announce the signing of an agreement on the exchange of prisoners, detainees, the missing, the forcibly detained and individuals placed under house arrest. This is a huge tribute to those here present, and of enormous importance to the many many thousands of families who seek the return to them of those currently lost to them. It will allow thousands of families to be reunited and it is a product of very effective active work from both delegations, and I’m very grateful.

What we will do here, and in the coming weeks, is to work on the implementation of that agreement, to make it happen. But it’s a good sign and I think it’s an important sign. The bar for success here, however, is higher than this. And as the people of Yemen know, much better than me the desperate situation that they face in Yemen on a daily-basis includes the prospect of famine, includes the continuing degradation of the economy health care and education across all aspects of their lives, humanitarian agencies have raised and the minister reminded us, the alarm regarding the terrible conditions for the country’s children. Thousands have died as a direct consequence of the fighting, and many tons of thousands more have died from malnutrition. So the political process, the talks that we will have offers an alternative to the narrative of conflict, and it begins here. And we seek to turn back the path from those problems and terror, and difficulties of life towards peace.

Here in the coming days, we will have a critical opportunity to give momentum to the peace process to move towards a comprehensive agreement based on the three references, the GCC initiative and its implementation, the Outcomes of the National Dialogue, and the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including 2216. In the coming days, you will have the opportunity, people here present, to discuss and make serious progress, I hope, on a framework for negotiations that sets the parameters for the peace agreement and the resumption of the political transition.

Based on my consultations with the parties and many other experienced and knowledgeable Yemenis, I believe that we can also here, in the coming days, find solutions on specific issues that will improve cooperation and reduce suffering. I have referred to the agreement on prisoners, but we will be hoping to talk about economic issues, about the reduction of violence in many different parts of the country Hudaydah and elsewhere. We will be talking about the issue of Sana’a airport and other measures like that, and we will have the opportunity to discuss the issues of humanitarian access and how the humanitarian programs can be more effective.

All of these issues would never be solved without listening to numerous numerous Yemeni voices, so in addition to the members of the delegations, I will personally benefit from the expertise and experience of an advisory group comprising eight leading Yemeni women with a variety of professional and technical backgrounds, and they will advise me on the issues addressed during these consultations. In addition, I have invited several Yemenis with experience in political issues to help advise me too, and I believe they will be a great support. Already they are telling me how to move forward and what to do and what not to do.

The international community, and we will have their representatives here with us in a minute, are fully supportive of the peace process. It’s a remarkable asset for Yemen. The Security Council is united. The international community is focused on us. The presence of the media representatives here is a testament to that. Representatives of the group of nineteen ambassadors with accreditation to Yemen are here, they traveled to Sweden, they will join us shortly, and I will continue to be, as you will, in close contact with them, during the course of these consultations. They repeatedly called for an end to the war, but what we’re calling for is a resolution to the conflict, a resolution to the issues that led to this war.

Finally, as you said minister, let us be in no doubt that Yemen’s future is in the hands of those of us in this room. The country’s institutions are at risk, the fragmentation of the country is an enormous concern, and we must act now before we lose control of the future of Yemen. You have all expressed your commitment to a political solution. The coming days are milestone, it’s an important, it’s a significant event, don’t waiver, let us none of us waiver, in spite of the challenges that we may face. Let us work with good will, good faith and with energy and commitment and conviction, and I’m sure we will deliver a message of peace for the people in Yemen.

Thank you very much. Thank you.

 

MARTIN GRIFFITHS TO N.Y TIMES: RENEWED HOPE FOR PEACE IN YEMEN

6 December 2018

Representatives of the Yemeni government and the Houthi movement are sitting down to talk in Sweden and offering us hope for restarting the peace process in their country.

By Martin Griffiths

Dec. 6, 2018 – The people of Yemen have had enough. More than three years of war have killed thousands, displaced more than 500,000, created the worst cholera epidemic and brought about 14 million Yemenis to the brink of starvation.

Desperate to escape famine, to be reunited with their loved ones, to mourn the dead, to save the future of their children, Yemenis are picking through the scattered signs of hope that this conflict might end.

On Thursday, for the first time in two years, the government of Yemen will sit down with Ansar Allah, who are commonly referred to as the Houthis, in Sweden. It took many false starts and missed opportunities before the opposing sides agreed to come together and offered us a glimmer of hope to restart a peace process in Yemen. It is an important beginning to see warring parties sit together and talk — a conversation that requires both sides to suspend their belief in the possibility of a military victory.

Over the past eight months, in my capacity as the United Nations mediator in this conflict, I have repeatedly warned that it is war that takes peace off the table. Peace has stronger prospects today, and it is time to push forward initiatives to put out the flames of the fighting.

The Red Sea port of Al Hudaydah, and the so-named city, has been a major flash point in this war. Since June, the population of the city has dwindled to 150,000, during months of severe fighting. Every month the U.N. food program provides aid to eight million people, but my colleagues are bracing for the threat of famine as many more millions of Yemenis cannot afford to buy food even where it is available.

I believe that this week’s meeting in Sweden can bring good news for Al Hudaydah, and for the people of Yemen. We have been working to reach a negotiated agreement to spare both the city and port the threat of destruction, and guarantee the full operation of the port. Reaching such a deal will not only put an end to the battles but also save the main humanitarian pipeline for the people of Yemen from being obstructed or destroyed. This will help ensure that the looming specter of famine is chased away.

Over the past weeks, both parties have showed their willingness to make significant humanitarian gestures. Some of the prisoners of war from both parties, who have not been allowed to contact their families in four years of war, were finally allowed to do so. Fifty Yemenis were able to fly out from Sana to Muscat to get treatment — something that has not happened for years. As we convene in Sweden, we will announce the signing of the long-awaited agreement on the exchange of prisoners, the first formal agreement between the two parties since the beginning of this conflict. Thousands of families in Yemen, who have been waiting for their missing relatives, can finally expect to be reunited with their loved ones.

These political consultations in Sweden are the first step toward putting Yemen on the path to peace. I hope that by the end of this round, the Yemeni parties will agree on the outline of an eventual comprehensive agreement, which will then be submitted to the United Nations secretary general and then to the Security Council for endorsement. I hope it will become a public road map to peace.

As a mediator, I believe that ending a war is not the same as building peace. In any peace process, the leading role goes to those who can stop the fighting, then the people at large whose nation deserves peace and whose families, now victims, may become beneficiaries. Over months of meetings with Yemenis from diverse backgrounds, I found that they are marvelous at finding common cause and masters of the art of sitting together to reach agreement.

This was clearly illustrated at their National Dialogue Conference, which convened in Sana from March 2013 to January 2014, when 565 people representing a cross section of Yemen’s population sat together and discussed what the future of the country should look like. The conference was, and still is, a leading international example of inclusive, careful and considered compromise. It is that kind of Yemen to which we all want to return.

It gives me some confidence that when the two parties meet in Sweden, their guiding principle will be that concessions are the central principle of negotiation, that compromises will benefit both sides and the people of Yemen at large. We hope that achieving progress on confidence-building measures and reaching an agreement on a political framework will be the manifestation of such a spirit of compromise.

At no other time has there been such a palpable international urge for the warring parties in Yemen to find a solution. Yemen has been on the top of the agenda for the United Nations secretary general. The Security Council is united in the desire to end this conflict. Countries of the region have demonstrated their full cooperation with our work to restart the political process. Yet, it is only those around the table in a serene, remote part of Sweden who can deliver on these hopes. For the sake of Yemen’s children, we hope they will deliver.

Martin Griffiths is the special envoy of the United Nations secretary general for Yemen.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

3 December 2018

More than 1 billion people in the world live with some form of disability. In many societies, persons with disabilities often end up disconnected, living in isolation and facing discrimination.

In its pledge to leave no one behind, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a commitment to reducing inequality and promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of all, including people with disabilities. That means implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in all contexts and in all countries. It also means integrating the voices and concerns of people with disabilities into national agendas and policies.

Today, the United Nations is issuing theUN Flagship Report on Disability and Development 2018 – Realizing the SDGs by, for and with persons with disabilities. The Report shows that people with disabilities are at a disadvantage regarding most Sustainable Development Goals, but also highlights the growing number of good practices that can create a more inclusive society in which they can live independently.

On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to work together for a better world that is inclusive, equitable and sustainable for everyone, where the rights of people with disabilities are fully realized.