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BRIEFING OF THE UN SPECIAL ENVOY OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR YEMEN TO THE OPEN SESSION OF THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL

17 June 2019

 

Thank you very much Mr. President, and thank you to the members of this Council.

Thank you for this opportunity to brief the Council on the latest developments in the Yemeni peace process. With this Council’s steadfast support, I have continued to work with both the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah on the implementation of the Stockholm agreement and the way forward to a comprehensive political solution to the conflict based on the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes and all relevant Security Council resolutions including in particular 2216.

In Hudaydah, the parties have sustained the reduction in violence across the governorate for the six full months since the agreement entered into force in the middle of last December. This has continued despite the delays in the implementation of the agreement due to a number of challenges and the frustrations we have all experienced associated with those challenges. During the five months prior to the ceasefire, the fighting resulted in more than 1,300 civilian casualties in the governorate. In the five months following the initiation of the ceasefire, the number of civilian casualties was reduced by 68%. I nevertheless of course remain deeply concerned by continued violence and civilian casualties. However, it is clear that the overall de-escalation continues to benefit the people of the city and the opportunities for effective humanitarian response.

The Redeployment Coordination Committee set up by that agreement and their members from both parties have continued to engage constructively with my colleague General Michael Lollesgaard on the plans for the first and second phases of the redeployments during the past months. He remains positive that an agreement on both phases of the redeployments can be achieved in line with what the parties agreed in Stockholm, including in particular with regard to the tripartite monitoring mechanism. Once outstanding issues are resolved, joint implementation can commence. Joint implementation will allow for the parties to fully verify all elements of the redeployments including those previously executed.  I commend General Michael Lollesgaard for his efforts to build relationships and confidence relentlessly between the parties to ensure the effectiveness of the RCC throughout his engagements amid challenging logistical and political circumstances.

The economic aspects of the Hudaydah agreement regarding the revenues of the ports as outlined in that agreement and also are the forefront of our attention. I hope that achieving consensus on these aspects will enable the payment of public sector salaries in Hudaydah governorate and then across all Yemen. This would be a significant step forward for the benefit of the Yemeni people. And we have had very positive exchanges with the Government of Yemen on this matter. I hope to build on last month’s Amman meeting and convene further discussions with both parties in the near future.

I thank the Council for your continued support, which has been instrumental in the implementation to date of the Stockholm Agreement since its inception. Parties should take the necessary next steps to ensure the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement in its entirety while ensuring full respect for Yemen’s sovereignty. And I note the Government of Yemen’s flexibility and continued support to the agreement in its entirety and their continued constructive engagement in this regard. I look forward to continue my close engagement with President Hadi, the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah to advance implementation of the agreement.

 

Mr. President,

 

If I may, allow me to brief you on where the parties stand with the remaining aspects of those agreements agreed in Stockholm last December.

We all hoped that the Statement of Understanding on Taiz agreed in Stockholm would open the door for the parties to work together on a way forward for the city and to alleviate the suffering of its citizens. The military and political situation in the city is extremely complex and fragile, to the detriment of the population. And I continue to work with the parties to convene a meeting of the joint committee agreed in Stockholm, to identify a way out of the current situation.  The benefits of a de-escalation of tensions and improved access for humanitarian aid would be tangible, immediate and visible.

I am also disappointed by the lack of progress on the implementation of the exchanges of prisoners and detainees as agreed indeed before the Stockholm sessions. This is in essence a humanitarian issue which would provide relief for the prisoners and detainees, and reunite them with their loved ones and their families. As I have informed this Council previously, the parties have held productive sessions on the details on exchanges in recent months. With greater flexibility, I believe that they can translate these discussions into actions on the ground.

I believe passionately that more than any other issue, tangible progress on the exchange of prisoners would indicate seriousness by the parties to build confidence in a significant humanitarian gesture of good faith. This has yet to happen despite the continued efforts of ICRC with whom my Office works very closely. I call on the parties to prioritize the implementation of the exchange of prisoners in good faith and to demonstrate the required flexibility to make it a reality, for the sake of peace and perhaps even more importantly for the sake of thousands of Yemeni families who long to be reunited and are extremely disappointed that this has not yet happened.

 

Mr. President,

 

This Council has recently expressed concern at re-escalating violence across Yemen and at the attacks on civilian infrastructure in Southern Saudi Arabia. I must echo these concerns, including the recent drone attacks on Abha airport. I have repeatedly warned that war can take peace off the table, and in the context of wider regional tensions, the risks to the political process have never looked more stark. Naturally, I call for steps to be taken to de-escalate tensions for the benefit of the Yemeni people as well as for regional security.

The Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah have consistently affirmed to me and continue to do so that a political solution is the only solution to this conflict. The longer the conflict goes on, the more challenges and the greater difficulties we will face in resolving it and reversing its terrible effect on the people of Yemen. The continued dialogue between the parties to implement the Stockholm agreement is significant, but it is not enough for the Yemeni people. They want their suffering to end now and not tomorrow.

And finally I would like to take this opportunity, Mr. President if I may, to reaffirm my personal commitment and that of the United Nations to pursue an impartial and inclusive political process based on national ownership in full respect to Yemen’s sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity as underscored by this Council on numerous occasions.

Ending the conflict in Yemen can only be achieved through a comprehensive political solution. Opportunities for compromise are still readily available for the parties. And with the support of this Council, Mr. President, I remain confident that the parties can yet reach a comprehensive and peaceful settlement to the conflict in Yemen.

 

Thank you very much.

 

بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاق الحُديدة (أونمــها) بيــــان من رئيس لجنة تنسيق اعادة الانتشار

الحُديدة، اليمن – 12 حزيران/يونيو 2019:قــــــــــام رئيس لجنة تنسيق إعادة الانتشار (RCC)ورئيس بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاقية الحُديدة(أونمها)، الفريق مايكل لوليسجارد، بإرسال رسائل متطابقة اليوم إلى ممثلي حكومة اليمن وأنصار الله (الحوثيين) في لجنة تنسيق اعادة الانتشار (RCC)،قدمت معلوماتٍ مُحدثة بشأن حالة إعادة الانتشار الأولية التي قام بها أنصار الله (الحوثيين) من موانئ البحر الأحمر الثلاثة الحُديدة والصليف ورأس عيسى في الأيام 11-14 أيار/ مايو 2019.

لاحظ الجنرال لوليسجارد أنه منذ يوم 14 أيار/ مايو، لم تلاحظ دويات المراقبة المنتظمة التي تقوم بها بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاق الحُديدة (أونمها) أي وجود عسكري للحوثيين في الموانئ.  وأوضح أنه قد تم ملاحظة أمن الموانئ الثلاثة لاحقاً وأنه يجري توفيره من قبل قوات خفر السواحل، بيد انه، أشار أيضًا إلى أنه يتعين على بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاق الحُديدة (أونمها) التأكد من حجم قوة خفر السواحل المتُفق عليها (450 فردًا). وفيما يتعلق بإزالة المظاهرالعسكرية، لاحظ الجنرال لوليسجارد أن المظاهر في مينائي الصليف ورأس عيسى قد تمت إزالتها، لكنها ما برحت موجودة في ميناء الحُديدة إلى حد كبير. ودعا الجنرال لوليسجارد أنصار الله (الحوثيين) إلى إكمال عملية إزالة جميع المظاهر العسكرية بسرعة، بمافي ذلك الخنادق كجزء من التزامهم بالعملية.

وأكــَد الجنرال لوليسجارد مُجدداً أن عمليات إعادة الانتشار الأولية من الموانئ كانت مهمة، ليس فقط كونها جزءٌ أولي من عمليات إعادة الانتشار الأوسع في الحُديدة، وإنما أيضًا لأنها حولت الموانئ إلى “حيـــزٍ مدني” سهّلَ عمل مؤسسة موانئ البحر الأحمر اليمنية،بدعم من الأمم المتحدة.

وإذ يلاحظ استمرار التزام الأطراف باتفاق الحديدة، فإن الجنرال لوليسجارد يحثهم على الانتهاء من المفاوضات المُعلقة للسماح بالتنفيذ الكامل للمرحلتين الأولى والثانية.

 تواصل بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاق الحُديدة (أونمها) حاليًا مراقبة الموانئ الثلاثة بفعالية للتحقق من استمرار خلوها من المظاهر العسكرية ومتابعة الأمور المُعلقة المتعلقة بحقول الألغام والمتفجرات من مخلفات الحرب والمظاهر العسكرية.

Note to Correspondents United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA)

Statement by the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee

Hudaydah, Yemen – 12 June 2019

The Chairman of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) and Head of the United Nations Mission to support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA), Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, transmitted identical letters today to the Government of Yemen and Ansar Allah (Houthi) representatives tothe RCC, which provided a status update on the initial redeployment undertaken byAnsar Allah (Houthi) from the three Red Sea ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Isa on 11-14 May 2019.

General Lollesgaard noted that since 14 May the Houthi military presence was not detected in the ports by regular verification patrols by UNMHA. He outlined that security of the three ports was observed as subsequently being provided by coast guard forces, however, he further noted that the agreed-upon strength of the coast guard (450 personnel) has yet to be confirmed by UNMHA. Regarding the removal of military manifestations, General Lollesgaard observed that manifestations in Salif and Ras Isa have been removed, but that in Hudaydah port these manifestations largely remained. He called on the Ansar Allah (Houthi) to expeditiously complete the removal of all military manifestations, including trenches as part of their commitment to the process.

General Lollesgaard reiterated that the initial redeployments from the ports were significant, not only as the first part of the broader redeployments in Hudaydah, but also as it transformed the ports into “civilian space” that facilitated the work of the Yemen Red Sea Ports Corporation, supported by the United Nations.

Noting the continued commitment of the parties to the Hudaydah Agreement, General Lollesgaard urges them to finalize the outstanding negotiations to allow for a full implementation of Phases 1 and 2.

Currently UNMHA continues to actively monitor the three ports to verify their sustained demilitarization and to follow up on pending matters related to minefields, explosive remnants of war and military manifestations.

SECURITY COUNCIL PRESS STATEMENT ON YEMEN

10 June 2019

The Members of the Security Council underlined their full support for Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen (the Special Envoy), Martin Griffiths, and called on the parties to engage constructively and continuously with the Special Envoy.  The members commended the efforts of the Special Envoy to support the parties to implement the Stockholm Agreement and to promote a political solution in Yemen.

The members of the Security Council noted positively the initial progress achieved by the parties towards phase one of the redeployment of forces in Hodeidah, as reported by the Special Envoy on 15 May 2019. They urged the parties to take the necessary next steps, in accordance with the agreed concept of operations (CONOPS), for the full implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their call on the parties to continue broader implementation of the Stockholm Agreement, including full adherence to the ceasefire in Hodeidah governorate, as well as the finalisation of arrangements for the Prisoner Exchange Agreement and the statement of understanding on Taiz.

The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the UN Mission in support of the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA) to be fully deployed as swiftly as possible and reiterated their call on the parties, as set out in resolution 2452 (2019), to ensure the unhindered and expeditious movement into and within Yemen of UNMHA personnel and equipment. Noting that a substantial number of entry permits were waiting to be issued for access to Houthi-controlled areas, they called on the parties to give all necessary support and assistance to UNMHA.  They further encouraged those Member States in a position to do so to deploy monitors to UNMHA.

The members of the Security Council expressed concern at re-escalating violence across parts of Yemen and at the loss of life and injuries caused by the conflict, and recalled their previous demands that all parties take all possible steps to ensure the protection of civilians, particularly children, and critical civilian infrastructure, and to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law.

The members of the Security Council condemned the attacks on oil pumping facilities in the cities of Al Dawadmi and Afif in Riyadh Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on 14 May, for which the Houthis claimed responsibility. They underlined that such attacks posed a serious national security threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as a wider threat to regional security, and also threaten to undermine the UN-led political process.

The members of the Security Council expressed deep concern at the gravity of the humanitarian situation and its continued deterioration since December 2018, including a serious resurgence of cholera with more than 364,000 suspected cases since the start of 2019 and 18% more Yemenis classified as food insecure this year (20 million people, 65% of the population). They expressed concern at continued access restrictions within Yemen and reiterated their call on the parties to remove bureaucratic impediments to access for humanitarian personnel and flows of humanitarian supplies, including food and fuel, and to ensure the effective and sustained functioning of all of Yemen’s ports and onward road access.

The members of the Security Council also noted the need to increase the pace and scale of the humanitarian response, and expressed concern at reports that the UN is running out of money for essential life-saving activities. They further noted that an important measure in stemming the cholera outbreak and preventing famine in 2018 was the early disbursement of agreed pledges to the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and urged donors to promptly fulfil the pledges they have already made to the UN.

The members of the Security Council recognised the efforts of the Government of Yemen to stabilise the Yemeni Riyal, establish a budget and pay some public sector salaries and pension payments across the country. They encouraged both parties to continue to work with the UN Special Envoy to strengthen the economy and the functioning of the Central Bank of Yemen, and to deliver the regular payment of public sector salaries across the country.

The members of the Security Council called on all parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy in fulfilling their obligations agreed in Stockholm, and welcomed the Special Envoy’s intention to continue work with the parties to pave the way for the resumption of formal negotiations. They called on the parties to engage constructively to reach a Yemeni-led comprehensive political settlement as set out in resolution 2216 (2015) and other relevant Security Council resolutions and presidential statements, as well as by the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

Recognising the crucial peacebuilding role played by women in Yemen, the members of the Security Council reiterated the importance of the full, effective and meaningful participation of women as well as the meaningful engagement of youth in the political process. They called on the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to increase the participation of women in their delegations to 30%, if necessary by adding additional members to their delegations.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen.

UN monitoring team in Yemen verifies pullout of armed forces from crucial port zones

14 May 2019 – Peace and Security

 

The UN team set up to monitor the ceasefire agreement between warring parties in Yemen has formally verified the pullout of armed Ansar Allah, or Houthi forces, from port zones in the country that are crucial to the flow of humanitarian aid, describing cooperation they have received so far as “very good.”

The Chair of the UN support mission (UNMHA), Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, released a statement on Tuesday, confirming that the redeployment of forces from Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Issa ports, part of the deal struck between Houthi leaders and the Yemeni Government, went ahead as agreed, albeit with some exceptions: security of the ports was handed over to the coast guard, but, he said, “a lot of work needs to be done” to remove  military hardware.

The Lt. Gen. reiterated that the actions of the Houthis forces are the first moves in the broader redeployments in Hudaydah, part of the UN-backed Agreement that both parties signed up to in December 2018.

The next steps in the UN’s implementation of the Hudaydah Agreement are expected to include a strengthened UN presence to support the management of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Issa, and to strengthen UNVIM, the UN body responsible for monitoring ships attempting to dock in the ports.

Full implementation of the agreement is critical for returning peace and stability to Yemen, said Lt. Gen. Lollesgaard, and “ensuring effective humanitarian access into the country where millions continue to be in need of life-saving assistance.”

On Tuesday, Martin Griffiths, the UN Special Envoy for Yemen, met the warring parties in the Jordanian capital of Amman, to begin discussing the implementation of the economic provisions of the Hudaydah Agreement.

Issues to be discussed included the management of revenues from the ports of Hudaydah, Ras Issa and Salif, and their use for the payment of public sector salaries throughout the country.

بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاق الحديدة (أونمها) – بيان من رئيس لجنة تنسيق إعادة الانتشار

الحديدة، اليمن-14 أيار 2019

زار اليوم رئيس لجنة تنسيق إعادة الانتشار، الفريق مايكل لوليسجارد، موانئ الحديدة والصليف ورأس عيسى للتحقق من إعادة انتشار قوات أنصار الله (الحوثيين). هذا وتقوم فِرق الأمم المتحدة بمراقبة عملية إعادة الانتشار هذه والتي تم تنفيذها، جزئيًا على النحو الذي اتفقت عليه الأطراف اليمنية ضمن مفهوم المرحلة الأولى.

ويرحب الفريق لوليسجارد بتسليم أمن الموانئ لخفر السواحل وبالجهود المبذولة لإزالة جميع المظاهر العسكرية من المنشآت، حيث لا يزال هناك الكثير من العمل الذي يتعين القيام به لإزالة هذه المظاهر، لكن التعاون كان وما زال جيدًا للغاية.

ان هذه خطوات أولى مهمة باعتبارها جزء من عمليات إعادة الانتشار الأوسع في الحديدة التي أعرب كلا الطرفين اليمنيين عن استمرار التزامهما بها. ويحث الفريق لوليسجارد الطرفين على الانتهاء من المفاوضات المعلقة للسماح بالتنفيذ الكامل للمرحلتين الأولى والثانية من اتفاق الحديدة.

وستواصل فِرق الأمم المتحدة مراقبة هذه الخطوات الأولية بطريقة نزيهة وشفافة. ان التنفيذ الفعال لهذه الخطوات يقتضي تعزيز وجود الأمم المتحدة في الموانئ لدعم إدارتها من قبل شركة موانئ البحر الأحمر، كما يتطلب تعزيز مراقبة آلية الأمم المتحدة للتحقق والتفتيش وفقا لاتفاقية الحديدة.

إن التنفيذ الكامل لهذا الاتفاق أمر ضروري لإعادة السلام والاستقرار إلى اليمن، ولضمان وصول المساعدات الإنسانية بشكل فعال إلى البلاد حيث لا يزال الملايين في حاجة إلى هذه المساعدات لإنقاذ حياتهم.

Note to Correspondents: United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) Statement by the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee

Hudaydah, 14 May 2019

The Chairman of the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC), Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard, visited today the ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras Issa to verify the redeployment of Ansar Allah (Houthi) forces. UN teams have been monitoring this redeployment which has been executed, partly as agreed by the Yemeni parties in the concept of phase one.

Lieutenant General Lollesgaard welcomes the handing over of the security of the ports to the coast guard and the efforts to remove all military manifestations from the facilities. There is still a lot of work to be done on the removal of the manifestations, but cooperation has been very good.

These steps are significant as the first part of the broader redeployments in Hudaydah, to which both Yemeni parties continue to express their commitment. Lieutenant General Lollesgaard urges the parties to finalize the outstanding negotiations to allow for a full implementation of phases one and two of the Hudaydah Agreement.

UN teams will continue to monitor these initial steps in an impartial and transparent manner. Proof of the effective implementation will be a strengthened UN presence in the ports to support their management by the Red Sea Ports Corporation, and to enhance the UNVIM’s monitoring in accordance with the Hudaydah Agreement.

Full implementation of this agreement is critical for returning peace and stability to Yemen, and ensuring effective humanitarian access into the country where millions continue to be in need of life-saving assistance.

Note to Correspondents: Yemeni Parties Meet in Amman on Economic Provisions of the Hudayda Agreement

Amman, 13 May 2019

The Office of the Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Yemen will meet the Yemeni parties in Amman on Tuesday 14 May, to discuss implementation of the economic provisions of the Hudayda Agreement reached in Sweden in December 2018.

Issues to be discussed will include the management of revenues from the ports of Hudayda, Ras Issa and Salif, and their use for the payment of public sector salaries in Hudayda governorate and throughout the country.

The Special Envoy encourages the parties to engage constructively and with good faith to agree the modalities of implementation, for the benefit of the people in Hudayda and the whole of Yemen.

The Special Envoy expresses his gratitude to the Government of Jordan for its support for this important meeting.

Note to Correspondents United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) 

Statement by the Chair of the Redeployment Coordination Committee 

Hudaydah, Yemen- 12 May 2019

The first day of the redeployment of Ansar Allah (Houthi) forces from the three ports of Hudaydah, Salif and Ras-Issa went in accordance with established plans. All three ports were monitored simultaneously by United Nations teams as the military forces left the ports and the Coast Guard took over responsibility for security. In the following days, activities are expected to focus on removal of military manifestations and demining. The formal verification by the United Nations of this first redeployment will take place at the three ports on Tuesday 14 May.

The Chairman of the Redeployment Coordination Committee, Lieutenant General Michael Lollesgaard stresses that this initial step is to be seen as the first part of the agreed concept for phase 1 of the broader redeployments in Hudaydah, in accordance with theStockholm Agreement. The Government of Yemen has expressed commitment to deliver their part of phase 1 when requested so by the United Nations. Consultations with the parties on commencement of these next steps are ongoing.

بعثة الأمم المتحدة لدعم اتفاق الحُديدة (أونمــها) بيــــان من رئيس لجنة تنسيق اعادة الانتشار

الحُديدة، اليمن – 12 أيار/ مايو 2019:

مضــى اليوم الأول من إعادة انتشار قوات أنصار الله (الحوثيين) من الموانئ الثلاثة الحُديدة والصليف ورأس عيسى، وفقًا للخطط الموضوعة. وقد جرت مراقبة الموانئ الثلاثة في وقتٍ واحد من قبل فرق الأمم المتحدة عند خروج القوات العسكرية من الموانئ وتولى خفر السواحل مسؤولية الأمن فيها. وفي الأيام التالية، من المتوقع أن تُركز الأنشطة على إزالة المظاهر العسكرية وإزالة الألغام. وستقوم الأمم المتحدة بإجراء التحقق الرسمي لعملية اعادة الانتشار الأولى هذه في الموانئ الثلاثة في يوم الثلاثاء 14 أيار/ مايو.

يؤكد رئيس لجنة تنسيق إعادة الانتشار، الفريـــــق مايكل لوليسجارد، أنه يتعين ان يُنظر الى هذه الخطوة الأولية بوصفها الجزء الأول من المفهوم المتفق عليه للمرحلة الأولى من عمليات إعادة الانتشار الأوسع في الحُديدة، وفقًا لاتفاقية استكهولم. لقد أعربت الحكومة اليمنية عن التزامها بتنفيذ الجزء الخاص بها من المرحلة الأولى عند طلب الأمم المتحدة ذلك. والمشاورات مع الأطراف بشأن بدء هذه الخطوات القادمة مازالت جارية.