Statement of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for Yemen

Kuwait City, 6 August 2016

Statement of Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

Welcome to all of you.

Allow me to start by thanking you for your presence here today and for your attention to the Yemeni file, particularly the peace talks in Kuwait.

During these talks, the delegation of the Government of Yemen and the delegation of the General People’s Congress and Ansar Allah have met face-to-face in numerous sessions. The two delegations have affirmed their commitment to the necessity of arriving at peaceful solution to end the conflict in Yemen. Different aspects of the conflict were touched upon and possible solutions were tabled which might help in overcoming this difficult phase. In itself, the gathering of the participants around a single dialogue table is an achievement not seen in other countries experiencing similar conflicts.

Complex and sensitive issues have been discussed and that has required extensive discussions until the parties manage express frankly to each other their fears, requirements of guarantees and appropriate assurances. The in-depth details of the security, political, economic, social and humanitarian reality have also been touched upon. These issues are not straightforward. I have put forward written proposals to the parties comprising five principle elements agreed upon in Biel and as mandated in Security Council Resolution 2216. And the United Nations, through its team of legal and military experts, has made a draft of the general framework combining the suggestions put forward and building on the discussions between the parties. These ideas were tabled for the delegations in order to focus the discussions around its content and to build upon them for a comprehensive draft agreement. The biggest dilemma that we faced was the deficit in trust between the parties and in this regard we focused on the necessity of offering concessions and advancing a step towards the other side so that the other side can advance a step in return. We must continue to urge the parties to initiate a series of confidence-building measures and it is their duty to continue the releases of detainees and refrain from adopting unilateral measures.

In addition, to the political and security issues the humanitarian and economic situation has dominated a large part of the sessions. In spite of the improvement of the humanitarian situation in a number of places which humanitarian workers to have been able to access, particularly with the cessation of hostilities, the economic situation has seen a serious decline and economic indicators are disconcerting if not dangerous.

I am here to sound the alarm for those involved in the internal affairs of Yemen. This is a direct result of the war and there is no economic solution except through a lasting political solution.

These talks have helped us to lay a solid ground for an agreement which we hope comes to light soon. We may not have arrived at an announcement before departing Kuwait, but I repeat that we are on the right track, and if the parties continue their engagement we may return to Kuwait soon when we reach a final formula.

The Kuwait talks have today reached the final stop, but the peace talks for Yemen continue. The structure and mechanism will change during the coming weeks so that we give the parties space to consult with their leaderships. we will work with each party separately to crystalize the precise technical details. I once again repeat that a lasting solution is one which is worked upon with care, study and consideration and every rushed solution comes truncated and incomplete.

If we wanted a fragile and unsustainable solution for Yemen, we got it. But we have not been able to guarantee its continuity.

At the end of this phase, I met with the parties in closing sessions which helped towards the preparation of a statement of commitment to the following points:

1.         Renew their commitment to the terms and conditions of the Cessation of Hostilities, and to urgently activate the mechanisms for its implementation;

2.         Activate the De-escalation and Coordination Committee in Dhahran al-Janoub and Local Security Committees in order to strengthen respect for the Cessation of Hostilities;

3.         Facilitate the adoption of urgent measures to ensure unhindered access for humanitarian aid and basic goods and to address the economic situation;

4.         Facilitate the urgent release of all political prisoners, and all individuals under house arrest or arbitrarily detained including those mentioned in UNSCR 2216 (2015);

5.         Abstain from any acts, escalation or decisions likely to undermine the prospects of finalising these negotiations and reaching an agreement;

6.         Conduct a series of consultations between the delegations and their respective leaderships in the coming phase on the ideas, which were discussed during the talks and study them in detail;

7.         Continuation of consultations and resumption of direct talks within one month from the submission of this statement at a place to be agreed upon;

8.         Reaffirm the continued positive spirit in engaging with any and all matters, which may facilitate reaching a complete, comprehensive and permanent solution to the conflict in Yemen;

9.         To that end, add to the delegations, to the next round of talks, military experts in order to provide technical support and advice in their area of expertise; and

10.         Co-operate with the Special Envoy in relation to any matter connected with the completion of the negotiations.

I thank the two delegations for their engagement and commitment to the decisions of the sessions and I urge them to offer an further concessions and guarantees. And everyone has to recognize that Yemen is a nation for all its children and crucial decisions have to be inclusive and not unilateral. The United Nations has harnessed all of its efforts in service of the path of peace in Yemen, but only Yemenis can bring the country to the stage of peace.

I thank the leadership, the Government and the people of the State of Kuwait. There is no doubt that Kuwait has proved once again its leadership in safeguarding peace in the region.

The choice of Kuwait for this round of talks played a fundamental role in want we have arrived at and this is an opportunity to offer my deep appreciation to the Emir of the State, His Highness Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for his wise leadership and personal intervention on some occasions. I also thank His Excellency Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs for the State of Kuwait who has been monitoring the Yemen file since the beginning and whose entire team has regularly worked day and night and has demonstrated high level of professionalism in covering this complex file.

I also thank the international community and the ambassadors from the Group of 18 states making tireless efforts and exertions to bring the points of view closer. And I thank the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Security Council for their engagement with the Yemen talks.

And finally, I bid peace to Yemen, peace to the people who have suffered the bitterness of wars and the difficulty of conflicts. The night of Yemen has been long but the dawn of peace is near and we will continue our efforts to raise the sun of peace over all of Yemen – south and north, east and west. Peace be upon you and the mercy and blessings of God.