The Security Council today unanimously decided to renew a travel ban, assets freeze and arms embargo against those threatening peace and security in Yemen, rejecting an alternate draft, vetoed by the Russian Federation, that would have spotlighted specific non‑compliance by Iran identified by the expert panel mandated to monitor those measures.
By the terms of resolution 2402 (2018), the Council renewed until 26 February 2019 the travel ban and assets freeze first imposed in resolution 2140 (2014). It also reaffirmed the arms embargo — as laid out in resolution 2216 (2015) — against several individuals, including the late former Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, designated by the Committee established pursuant to resolution 2140 (2014), also known as the “2140 Committee”. It extended until 28 March 2019 the Panel of Experts’ mandate.
The text, submitted by the Russian Federation, prevailed over another tabled by the United Kingdom, which was defeated by a vote of 11 in favour to 2 against (Bolivia, Russian Federation) with 2 abstentions (China, Kazakhstan).
That draft would have reaffirmed the applicability of sanctions to activities related to ballistic missile use in Yemen, the provision or transfer of related goods or technologies to listed persons or entities, and the provision of financial, material or technological support to those persons and entities.
It also would have called on all parties to the conflict in Yemen to comply with international humanitarian and human rights law; cease attacks directed at civilians and civilian objects; take all feasible precautions to avoid or minimize harm to civilians and civilian objects; respect and protect medical facilities and personnel; and end the recruitment and use of children.
The United Kingdom’s delegate, prior to the two votes, said attacks against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia were unacceptable and raised concern over the Panel’s findings that Iran had provided short‑range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, in breach of paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015). Urging the Council to stand firm against such violations, he said that while the United Kingdom had sought to ensure a balanced and impartial text, it also had not shied away from calling out those who had violated international agreements.
The Russian Federation’s representative, also speaking before the votes, said he could not support the United Kingdom‑sponsored draft, as he did not agree with its inclusion of unverified information. Assessing the Panel of Experts’ work in the manner mentioned in that draft was misguided. That text would be detrimental to the Council and destabilizing to both Yemen and the region. There was a grave danger in toying with geopolitical maps, he warned, especially with regard to relations between the Shiite and the Sunni communities. Instead, the resolution should be technical in nature, and as such, the Russian Federation had presented an alternate text.
The representative of the United States, calling the Russian Federation’s statement “perverse”, said the Panel had presented evidence of Iran’s involvement, its arms embargo violations and its failure to prevent the transfer of banned arms to Houthi rebels. Those weapons were being used to target the capitals of Yemen’s neighbours; the United Kingdom’s draft had provided a common sense solution. Today, preventive diplomacy had failed and the principles of the United Nations Charter had been violated. Iran was entrenching itself in other nations and making the world a more dangerous place, she said, adding that “we will not stop until Tehran is stopped.”
Bolivia’s delegate said he had voted against the United Kingdom‑sponsored draft because it had not taken into account the concerns of several delegations. Bolivia would not apologize to anyone for standing up for its principles, including that of the sovereignty of States. It was irresponsible to call out other regional actors without evidence, he said, warning the Council against pursuing narrow political agendas in breach of the United Nations Charter.
Also speaking were representatives of France, China, Peru, Sweden, Netherlands and Kuwait.
The meeting began at 3:26 p.m. and ended at 4:10 p.m.
JONATHAN GUY ALLEN (United Kingdom), explaining his delegation’s position before the vote, said the conflict in Yemen had caused the world’s largest crisis, posed global security threats and fuelled regional tensions. While the focus was often on Syria, he said, “this Council must not ignore the appalling situation in Yemen”. Calling for unity of effort and purpose to end the conflict, he said the United Nations sanctions regime was a critical tool that must be used to pressure those bent on undermining Yemen’s stability. It was vital that the Panel of Experts’ work be continued, he stressed, adding that the Council must not ignore the grave ballistic missile threat now emanating from Yemen. Attacks against civilian targets in Saudi Arabia, such as those on 22 July 2017, 4 November 2017 and 19 December 2017 were unacceptable, he stressed, also raising concern over the Panel’s findings that Iran had provided short‑range missiles and unmanned aerial vehicles, in non‑compliance of paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015).
The Council must stand firm against such violations, he said, also voicing concern over the worsening humanitarian situation. The impact of restrictions on humanitarian access had been made clear by the Panel of Experts; in response, the text his delegation had presented called for unimpeded humanitarian access. Calling on all parties to redouble efforts to resolve their differences through dialogue, he said that, until that time, sanctions must be maintained. The United Kingdom had sought to present a balanced and impartial text which nonetheless did not shy away from calling out those who had violated international agreements. The Council relied on many independent Panels of Experts, and while members might not always like their conclusions, they were bound to respect them. Anyone voting against the draft resolution presented by the United Kingdom today was failing to do everything they could to hold those who violated Council resolutions to account.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said his delegation could not support the United Kingdom‑sponsored draft to extend the Panel of Experts’ mandate. While the Russian Federation fully endorsed the majority of its provisions, it could not concur with unverified information that needed to be discussed. In principle, the Russian Federation objected to a technical rollover amid complex political realities. Three days ago, the Russian Federation had requested details on the use of weapons in Yemen and had yet to receive an answer. Assessing the Panel of Experts’ work in the manner mentioned in the draft resolution was misguided.
He said such a draft was detrimental to the Council and destabilizing to both Yemen and the region, leading to conflict among regional players. There was a grave danger of toying with geopolitical maps, especially as related to relations between the Shiite and the Sunni communities. A first, constructive step would be to seek inclusive discussions in the region. In order to not undermine unity, draft resolutions should be technical in nature. While supporting the mandate extension of the Panel of Experts, information must be verified. With that in mind, he proposed such a draft resolution, inviting the Council to vote on it today.
The Council then rejected the draft resolution presented by the United Kingdom by a vote of 11 in favour to 2 against (Bolivia, Russian Federation), with 2 abstentions (China, Kazakhstan), owing to a negative vote by one of its five permanent members.
Next taking up the draft resolution submitted by the Russian Federation, the Council adopted the text unanimously as resolution 2402 (2018).
KELLEY A. ECKELS-CURRIE (United States) called the statement by the Russian Federation’s delegate “perverse”. The Council’s Panel of Experts had presented evidence of Iran’s involvement, its arms embargo violations and its failure to prevent the transfer of banned armaments to the Houthis. Those weapons were being used to target the capitals of Yemen’s neighbours. The United Kingdom’s draft resolution had provided a common sense solution. Today, preventive diplomacy had failed and the principles of the United Nations Charter had been violated. Iran was entrenching itself in other nations and making the world a more dangerous place, she said, adding that “we will not stop until Tehran is stopped.”
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France) welcomed the adoption of resolution 2402 (2018). Expressing regret over the Council’s disunity on the first tabled draft, he said France supported a renewed mandate for the Panel of Experts and had already voiced grave concerns about attacks on Saudi Arabia and emphatically condemned any flouting by Iran of arms embargoes. The humanitarian situation continued to deteriorate alarmingly, he said, calling efforts to provide assistance a first positive step. The priority must remain addressing the crisis. “We must remain galvanized to breathe new political life” into the situation so all stakeholders could engage in negotiations. The aim must be to arrive at peace, including through United Nations‑led inclusive dialogue, he said, emphasizing the critical importance of unity in the Council.
MA ZHAOXU (China) said the deteriorating situation in Yemen raised deep concerns, requiring the international community to support efforts to get negotiations back on track. Renewing the targeted sanctions and Panel of Experts’ mandate would serve the interests of Yemen and countries in the region. Resolution 2402 (2018) accomplished that goal, he said, reflecting the broadest possible consensus in the Council. While welcoming the draft resolution that the United Kingdom had proposed, he said Council members had held differing views. Members must continue to discuss issues and “meet each other halfway”. A political settlement was the only way to achieve lasting peace in Yemen, he said, calling on all parties to work towards a solution.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) said his delegation’s support for both texts presented today was based on its commitment to ending the conflict in Yemen. It was critical to reign in those actors who sought to destabilize that country, a goal which was particularly important to Peru as Chair of the “2140 Committee”. Condemning the missile launches against Saudi Arabia, as well as other actions listed in the Panel of Experts’ final report, he said that body must be able to conduct detailed and objective assessments of the ground situation as well as of the adherence of all parties to sanctions.
PEDRO LUIS INCHAUSTE JORDÁN (Bolivia) said his delegation had voted against the text proposed by the United Kingdom because it had been presented without taking into account the concerns of several delegations. Bolivia would not apologize to anyone for standing up for its principles, including that of the sovereignty of States. Voicing regret that the Council had been unable to reach an agreement to address the crisis in Yemen, he said it was irresponsible to call out other regional actors without evidence. In addition, he warned the Council against pursuing narrow political agendas in breach of the United Nations Charter.
IRINA SCHOULGIN NYONI (Sweden), welcoming the renewal of the sanctions regime and the mandate of the Panel of Experts, said her delegation was committed to the effective use of sanctions as one of many tools aimed at ensuring international peace and security. Voicing support for the Panel of Experts, she said the arms embargo was a vital part of the sanctions regime that must be upheld, and called on all parties to respect it.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) thanked delegations for the unanimous adoption of the draft resolution, which aimed to improve the situation in Yemen. The Russian Federation respected relations with all stakeholders in the region. His delegation had voted against the United Kingdom’s proposal only because consensus could not be reached on some provisions, he said, adding that the statement of the United States representative had demonstrated that the Russian Federation’s concerns were not for naught.
KAREL JAN GUSTAAF VAN OOSTEROM (Netherlands), expressing regret that the first draft text had not been adopted, said the sanctions regime and the Panel of Experts’ mandate needed to be renewed. He also voiced regret that France’s concerns about the humanitarian situation had not been adequately addressed.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), Council President for February, spoke in his national capacity to express support for the first draft resolution because it proposed to renew the sanctions and mandate of the Panel of Experts, and contained language that focused on the situation in Yemen. Condemning the Houthis’ ballistic missile launches against Saudi Arabia, which were a clear violation of the arms embargo, he called on all Member States to respect the sanctions.
The full text of resolution 2402 (2018) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012), 2140 (2014), 2201 (2015), 2204 (2015), 2216 (2015), 2266 (2016) and 2342 (2017), and the statements of its President dated 15 February 2013 (document S/PRST/2013/3), 29 August 2014 (document S/PRST/2014/18), 22 March 2015 (document S/PRST/2015/8), 25 April 2016 (document S/PRST/2016/5) and 15 June 2017 (document S/PRST/2017/7) concerning Yemen,
“Reaffirming its strong commitment to the unity, sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Yemen,
“Expressing concern at the ongoing political, security, economic and humanitarian challenges in Yemen, including the ongoing violence, and threats arising from the illicit transfer, destabilizing accumulation and misuse of weapons,
“Reiterating its call for all parties in Yemen to adhere to resolving their differences through dialogue and consultation, reject acts of violence to achieve political goals, and refrain from provocation,
“Reaffirming the need for all parties to comply with their obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights law as applicable,
“Expressing its support for and commitment to the work of the Special Envoy for Yemen to the Secretary‑General in support of the Yemeni transition process,
“Expressing its grave concern that areas of Yemen are under the control of Al‑Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and about the negative impact of their presence, violent extremist ideology and actions on stability in Yemen and the region, including the devastating humanitarian impact on the civilian populations, expressing concern at the increasing presence and future potential growth of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh) affiliates in Yemen and reaffirming its resolve to address all aspects of the threat posed by Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, ISIL (Da’esh), and all other associated individuals, groups, undertakings and entities,
“Recalling the listing of Al‑Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and associated individuals on the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al‑Qaida Sanctions List and stressing in this regard the need for robust implementation of the measures in paragraph 2 of resolution 2253 (2015) as a significant tool in combating terrorist activity in Yemen,
“Noting the critical importance of effective implementation of the sanctions regime imposed pursuant to resolution 2140 (2014) and resolution 2216 (2015), including the key role that Member States from the region can play in this regard, and encouraging efforts to further enhance cooperation,
“Recalling the provisions of paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015) imposing a targeted arms embargo,
“Gravely distressed by the continued deterioration of the devastating humanitarian situation in Yemen, expressing serious concern at all instances of hindrances to the effective delivery of humanitarian assistance, including limitations on the delivery of vital goods to the civilian population of Yemen,
“Emphasizing the necessity of discussion by the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 19 of resolution 2140 (2014) (“the Committee”), of the recommendations contained in the Panel of Experts reports,
“Determining that the situation in Yemen continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1. Reaffirms the need for the full and timely implementation of the political transition following the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference, in line with the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and Implementation Mechanism, and in accordance with resolutions 2014 (2011), 2051 (2012), 2140 (2014), 2201 (2015), 2204 (2015), 2216 (2015), and 2266 (2016) and with regard to the expectations of the Yemeni people;
“2. Decides to renew until 26 February 2019 the measures imposed by paragraphs 11 and 15 of resolution 2140 (2014), reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 12, 13, 14 and 16 of resolution 2140 (2015), and further reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 14 to 17 of resolution 2216 (2015);
“3. Reaffirms that the provisions of paragraphs 11 and 15 of resolution 2140 (2014) and paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015) shall apply to individuals or entities designated by the Committee, or listed in the annex to resolution 2216 (2015) as engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Yemen;
“4. Reaffirms the designation criteria set out in paragraph 17 of resolution 2140 (2014) and paragraph 19 of resolution 2216 (2015);
“5. Decides to extend until 28 March 2019 the mandate of the Panel of Experts as set out in paragraph 21 of resolution 2140 (2014), and paragraph 21 of resolution 2216 (2015), expresses its intention to review the mandate and take appropriate action regarding the further extension no later than 28 February 2019, and requests the Secretary‑General to take the necessary administrative measures as expeditiously as possible to re‑establish the Panel of Experts, in consultation with the Committee until 28 March 2019 drawing, as appropriate, on the expertise of the members of the Panel established pursuant to resolution 2140 (2014);
“6. Requests the Panel of Experts to provide a midterm update to the Committee no later than 28 July 2018, and a final report no later than 28 January 2019 to the Security Council, after discussion with the Committee;
“7. Directs the Panel to cooperate with other relevant expert groups established by the Security Council to support the work of its Sanctions Committees, in particular the Analytical Support and Sanctions Monitoring Team established by resolution 1526 (2004) and extended by resolution 2253 (2015);
“8. Urges all parties and all Member States, as well as international, regional and subregional organizations to ensure cooperation with the Panel of Experts and further urges all Member States involved to ensure the safety of the members of the Panel of Experts and unhindered access, in particular to persons, documents and sites, in order for the Panel of Experts to execute its mandate;
“9. Emphasizes the importance of holding consultations with concerned Member States, as may be necessary, in order to ensure full implementation of the measures set forth in this resolution;
“10. Calls upon all Member States which have not already done so to report to the Committee as soon as possible on the steps they have taken with a view to implementing effectively the measures imposed by paragraphs 11 and 15 of resolution 2140 (2014) and paragraph 14 of resolution 2216 (2015) and recalls in this regard that Member States undertaking cargo inspections pursuant to paragraph 15 of resolution 2216 (2015) are required to submit written reports to the Committee as set out in paragraph 17 of resolution 2216 (2015);
“11. Recalls the Informal Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions report (document S/2006/997) on best practices and methods, including paragraphs 21, 22 and 23 that discuss possible steps for clarifying methodological standards for monitoring mechanisms;
“12. Reaffirms its intention to keep the situation in Yemen under continuous review and its readiness to review the appropriateness of the measures contained in this resolution, including the strengthening, modification, suspension or lifting of the measures, as may be needed at any time in light of developments;
“13. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”