Children Dying ‘Right Now’ Due to Aid Diversion, World Food Programme Chief Says, as Sana’a Representative Blames Houthi Fighters
The “unwinnable” conflict in Yemen is worsening, with 20 million Yemenis lacking enough food and only marginal changes in power dynamics since fighting broke out in 2015, top United Nations officials warned the Security Council today, amid calls for parties to fully implement the Stockholm and Hodeidah Agreements designed to end the acute humanitarian crisis.
Briefing members on political and humanitarian developments, the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) all underscored the direct impacts of the conflict on the 24 million people needing protection.
The Special Envoy reported that parties in Hodeidah have sustained the reduction in violence in the six months since the Stockholm Agreement entered into force, while the number of casualties also fell by 68 per cent in the following five months. Despite this progress, however, the military and political situation remains extremely fragile and he urged parties to take the necessary next steps to ensure the full implementation of the accord.
“More than any other issue, tangible progress on the exchange of prisoners would indicate the seriousness of the parties to build confidence in a significant humanitarian gesture of good faith,” he continued. With violence escalating across the country and attacks continuing against civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia — most recently Abha airport — “the risks to the political process have never looked more stark”, he observed.
The Emergency Relief Coordinator, noting that 70,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2016, said fighting in this year alone has displaced 250,000 people; the number of incidents killing or injuring children more than tripled. But, the conflict itself has led to relatively few major shifts in control. Most Yemenis still live in areas controlled by Ansar Allah and their allies. “The war is not only brutal, it is unwinnable,” he said, warning that close to half a million people could die if the fighting lasts until 2022.
In April and May, access constraints prevented or delayed humanitarian assistance for more than 1.5 million people, he said, adding that Ansar Allah‑affiliated authorities obstructed 55 United Nations field missions. While $4.2 billion is needed to address the suffering, only $1.5 billion has been received, despite pledges made in Geneva in February. “People are almost certainly already dying as a result of these funding gaps.”
The World Food Programme Executive Director expressed alarm that food is being diverted in areas controlled by Ansar Allah. While WFP feeds more than 10 million people a month, “I cannot assure you that all the assistance is going to those who need it the most”, he said. Would-be beneficiaries in Sana’a reported not having received any food, even though the distribution list contained their thumbprints, as if they had. “Who took their food?”, he asked, recalling that he has requested authorities to honour their agreements.
However, if no assurances are given, WFP will begin a phased suspension of food assistance, most likely next week. This goes “against every fibre of our being,” he said, explaining that the agency’s humanitarian principles are compromised if it is not allowed to determine independently who most needs help. “Let us do our job,” he pleaded.
In the ensuing discussion, Council members condemned actions that block humanitarian aid, with the United Kingdom’s delegate stressing that those who hamper access are not only acting against the people of Yemen, but also the Council. Describing the statistics as shocking, she recalled that parties have a duty to redouble their cooperation with United Nations actors on the ground.
Council members also condemned the violence and urged parties to recommit to political agreements. The United States representative decried the recent Houthi attack against Abha airport, pressing Iran to stop supplying Houthi rebels with weapons. Pointing to strides made in implementing the Hodeidah Agreement, he called for greater efforts to address contentious issues. The Houthis must demonstrate that they are serious about the peace process by removing their troops as agreed in the Stockholm Agreement.
The Russian Federation’s delegate meanwhile cautioned that artificial anti‑Iranian sentiment could undermine collective diplomacy and derail gains made in Yemen. Emergency humanitarian assistance must be provided to the Yemeni population no matter who controls their territory, he stressed, adding that such efforts “cannot be a panacea”.
The representative of Kuwait, Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, urged the Council to take action to end chronic obstructions of humanitarian access. Also expressing concern that no progress has been seen on the exchange of prisoners and detainees, he said there can be no military solution to the crisis.
Yemen’s representative said his Government has already demonstrated flexibility and commitment, notably by participating in all rounds of talks under United Nations auspices “even though we know that these militia groups do not believe in dialogue or talks”. The Houthis meanwhile stoke tensions to advance the goals of their Iranian puppet masters to destabilize Yemen, wreck its economy and the region. The Houthi rebels misinterpret and disrespect the Stockholm and Hodeidah Agreements and misappropriate life-saving aid.
“They want to sow discrimination and division within Yemeni society,” he said, cautioning the Council against sending ambiguous messages that can be twisted and misinterpreted. The Houthis continue to target women and children, while the international community shirks its responsibility. Their disregard for international decisions is further proof that they do not believe in peace.
Also speaking today were representatives of Peru, Germany, France, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominican Republic, China, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa, Indonesia, Poland and Belgium.
The meeting began at 10 a.m. and ended at 12:32 p.m.
MARTIN GRIFFITHS, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, briefed the Council from Amman, Jordan, providing an update on the peace process. That included the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement reached in late 2018 and efforts to find a way forward based on the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its implementation mechanism, the National Dialogue Conference outcomes and all relevant Council resolutions. In Hodeidah, he said the parties have sustained the reduction in violence across the governorate for six months since the Stockholm Agreement entered into force. Whereas the five months prior to the ceasefire saw more than 1,300 civilian casualties, that number was reduced by 68 per cent in the five months following its entry into force. While he remains concerned by continued casualties and violence, it is clear that the de-escalation continues to benefit the people of the city and the humanitarian response.
Meanwhile, he said, the Redeployment Coordination Committee members from both parties have continued to engage constructively with General Michael Lollesgaard on the plans for the first and second phases of redeployment. Once outstanding issues are resolved, joint implementation can commence. Economic elements related to the port revenues outlined in the Hodeidah Agreement are also a priority, he said, expressing hope that achieving consensus on those matters will enable the payment of public sector salaries. “Parties must take the necessary next steps to ensure the full implementation of the Stockholm Agreement in its entirety while ensuring full respect for Yemen’s suffering,” he stressed. Recalling that all stakeholders had hoped that the Statement of Understanding on Ta’izz agreed in Stockholm would open the door for parties to work together and alleviate civilian suffering, he said the military and political situation nevertheless remains extremely fragile and complex.
Calling for a de-escalation of tensions and improved humanitarian access, he also voiced disappointment over the lack of progress on prisoner and detainee exchanges agreed in Stockholm. “More than any other issue, tangible progress on the exchange of prisoners would indicate the seriousness of the parties to build confidence in a significant humanitarian gesture of good faith,” he said. Noting that has yet to happen, he called on the parties to prioritize the exchange of prisoners and demonstrate the flexibility to make it a reality. Echoing concerns expressed recently by Council members over the re-escalation of violence across Yemen, as well as attacks on civilian infrastructure in southern Saudi Arabia — including a drone attack on Abha airport — he reiterated that “war can take peace off the table” and that “the risks to the political process have never looked more stark”. The continued dialogue between the parties, while significant, is not enough for the Yemeni people.
MARK LOWCOCK, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said an estimated 70,000 people have been killed in Yemen since 2016 and there are currently 30 active front lines in the country. “Yemen is getting more violent, not less,” he said. “The conflict is getting worse, not better.” Fighting this year has displaced 250,000 people, while the number of incidents killing or injuring children more than tripled between the last quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019. The fighting meanwhile has led to relatively few major shifts in control. Today, the large majority of Yemenis still live in areas controlled by Ansar Allah and their allies: After tens of thousands of air strikes, shells, mortars and ground clashes, this has changed only marginally since 2016. “So, the war is not only brutal, it is unwinnable,” he explained.
Eighty per cent of the population — more than 24 million people — need assistance and protection, he said. “If fighting lasts until 2022, we can expect close to half a million total deaths — including more than 300,000 people who will die from hunger, lack of health care and related causes.” A quarter of children would be malnourished and nearly 40 per cent of children would be out of school. Turning to the relief operation, which, at $4.2 billion, is already the world’s largest, he echoed the concerns of Yemeni activists who continue to ask how it is that the international community spends so much money in Yemen, but conditions only worsen. He stressed the need to silence the guns and facilitate unimpeded humanitarian access, underscoring that, in April and May, access constraints prevented or delayed humanitarian assistance for more than 1.5 million people. So far this year, Ansar Allah-affiliated authorities have prevented or delayed 55 United Nations field missions. Noting the written approval from Ansar Allah‑affiliated authorities to proceed with a technical mission to assess the decaying Safer oil tanker, he cautioned that, if this tanker ruptures, it could lead to a major environmental disaster.
Turning to the humanitarian operations, he said $4.2 billion is required, but only $1.5 billion has been received despite the generous pledges made in Geneva in February. “When pledges are made, they must be fulfilled,” he said, stressing that the World Health Organization (WHO) has already had to suspend payments to health workers and halt vaccination programmes. “This means people are almost certainly already dying as a result of these funding gaps,” he said. There has been some progress on economic issues over the last six months, including the publishing by Yemen’s Government of its first budget since 2015 and the payment salaries to health workers and other civil servants. But, war completely obstructs any progress. Since the war began, food imports have declined by more than 40 per cent, fuel imports by 70 per cent and medicines by 50 per cent. The value of Yemeni rial has plummeted — meaning that any extra money in Yemini pockets is now worth much less — while a growing number of families are receiving less help from friends and families overseas.
DAVID BEASLEY, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP), described the humanitarian situation in Yemen as dire, noting that 20 million Yemenis do not have enough to eat. “We continue to face fierce resistance to simply just do our job to keep people alive,” he added, saying the Programme is being prevented from feeding the hungriest people, with food being diverted in areas controlled by Ansar Allah. WFP must be able to independently identify and verify those in need of assistance and put monitoring systems in place to ensure that they truly receive the food they need, he stressed. Over the last two years, WFP has registered its concern with Ansar Allah regarding the group’s resistance to the agency’s neutral, independent operations, and the trouble it has encountered in receiving imported equipment and securing visa approvals, he said. While feeding more than 10 million people a month, “I cannot assure you that all the assistance is going to those who need it the most,” he added, reiterating that the Programme is not allowed to operate independently and aid is being diverted for profit.
He went on to cite examples, saying that would-be beneficiaries in Sana’a reported not having received any food, even though the distribution list contained their thumbprints, as if they had. “Who took their food?”, he asked, recalling that, in April alone, 33 per cent of respondents in Sana’a had not received food. In only the last 60 days, WFP detected more than 30 cases of possible misappropriation in areas controlled by authorities in Sana’a. Emphasizing that diversion is not limited to Houthi-controlled areas, he said that, when faced with challenges in Government-controlled areas, WFP has received cooperation to address them. “Our food assistance is being manipulated and we are being blocked from fixing it”, he asserted, pointing out that WFP spends $150 million a month to feed hungry Yemenis. It has tried every option to resolve the issue over the last 18 months, notably signing agreements on 28 December 2018 and on 15 January 2019 with the Sana’a authorities on the biometrics and registration of beneficiaries, only to see roadblocks emerge every time efforts are made to implement such accords.
Pointing out that he has written to authorities asking that they honour their agreements, he cautioned that, if no assurances are given, WFP will begin a phased suspension of food assistance, most likely next week. If that happens, the agency will continue its nutrition programme for malnourished children, pregnant women and new mothers, he said, while warning that, if there is still no agreement, it will look at expanding the suspension to other areas where the risk of diversion is high. “We don’t want to do this,” he said, insisting: “It goes against every fibre of our being.” However, WFP’s humanitarian principles — the very tool that allows it to do its job — are compromised if it is not allowed to determine independently who most needs help, he said. “We have the expertise and we have the funds to keep suffering Yemenis alive,” he added, noting that children are dying because of this problem. Underlining his belief that elements of Ansar Allah want to do what is right, he said others stand to profit and will do everything to obstruct WFP’s efforts. No one associated with the United Nations should stand idly by, he added. “This is about the integrity of the entire United Nations and the humanitarian system around the world,” he stressed. “Let us do our job.”
KAREN PIERCE (United Kingdom) underlined her delegation’s support to the United Nations efforts in Yemen, as well as that of the entire Council. Those who block access to humanitarian aid should know that they are not simply acting against the people of Yemen, but also the Security Council, she stressed, adding that parties have a duty to redouble their cooperation with United Nations actors on the ground. She underlined the need to ensure that the Hodeidah Agreement continues to hold and voiced concern about the seeming link between the Houthis and Iran. All parties must show restraint from retaliatory military actions, which threaten both regional security and the lives of the Yemeni people. The Council has been clear that a political solution is the only way out of the conflict, and a resumed political process must therefore proceed in parallel to other efforts. Regarding prisoner and detainee exchanges, she expressed hope that more progress can be made and that the Council will take up that crucial issue in consultations. Meanwhile, on economic matters, the parties should continue to engage with the Special Envoy and pursue an agreement on the payment of salaries. Describing the humanitarian statistics as shocking, she said the United Kingdom has already made available over half of the $300 million it has pledged.
JONATHAN R. COHEN (United States) condemned the recent Houthi attack against Abha airport and emphasized that Iran must cease supplying them weapons. Pointing to strides made in implementing the Hodeidah Agreement, he declared that “we must all seize the momentum of that progress”, also calling for redoubled efforts to address contentious issues and for restraint by all parties. All sides must facilitate the arrival of United Nations monitors and cooperate with the Special Envoy’s work. Noting that the recent escalations in fighting are threatening humanitarian access and forcing people to flee, he stressed that the fighting must end immediately. In particular, the Houthis must demonstrate that they are serious about the peace process by removing their troops as agreed in the Stockholm Agreement and enabling the first phase to be completed. Expressing concern over a rise in cases of cholera throughout the country, he said the United States supports WFP efforts to distribute aid throughout Yemen in line with the principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) expressed concern over rising tensions in the Persian Gulf following recent attacks against oil tankers there, warning that artificially stoking tensions and making hasty accusations will only politicize those events and erode trust in the much-needed international investigation into them. Recalling that the Russian Federation previously presented a proposal to launch a process of confidence‑building measures in the region, he cautioned that artificial anti-Iranian sentiment could undermine collective diplomacy and derail the gains made — including in Yemen. Underlining his country’s continued support to United Nations mediation efforts, he called for strengthened efforts to convince all parties of the futility of a military solution. Emergency humanitarian assistance must be provided to the Yemeni population no matter who controls their territory, he stressed, calling on the parties to refrain from the excessive use of force and to facilitate humanitarian access. However, he stressed, humanitarian efforts “cannot be a panacea” and more attention must be paid to Yemen’s political solution.
GUSTAVO MEZA-CUADRA (Peru) condemned attacks committed by the Houthis which have included the use of drones and missiles targeting populated areas in Saudi Arabia. It is crucial that any response to these actions be carried out within the scope of international law. Violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen, he acknowledged. Commending the Special Envoy for helping all parties commit to a political solution, he said the Stockholm Agreement marked a “make-or-break moment”. Therefore, there is no excuse for walking away from these commitments. Humanitarian efforts are vital, especially as the crisis worsens and famine looms, threatening 65 per cent of the Yemeni population. “We must live up to our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable in the society,” he said, cautioning against aid being misappropriated or politicized.
CHRISTOPH HEUSGEN (Germany) noted the Council’s unity where Yemen is concerned and emphasized his country’s full backing of the Special Envoy, as well as humanitarian efforts on the ground. He appealed to all donors and parties to “pay up what they have pledged”. Germany has been a reliable partner to WFP and fully supports its work. Noting the “brutal and cynical” factions of Ansar Allah, he condemned all military engagements, which have not changed anything on the ground. Regarding the coalition, he expressed concern over air attacks on Sana’a — which have caused many victims, among them women and children — and pressed all parties to respect international humanitarian law.
FRANÇOIS DELATTRE (France), citing slow progress, called on all parties to fully implement the Stockholm Agreement, particularly the two phases on redeployment. The United Nations presence on the ground plays a decisive role in that sense and in helping implement the Hodeidah Agreement. Pressing all United Nations agencies to ramp up their work as promised in the Stockholm Agreement, he said the Special Envoy’s efforts are particularly crucial as the situation continues to deteriorate. He condemned the recent attack on Saudi Arabia’s airport as unacceptable, adding: “Those attacks must end, as well as the transfer of weapons, including ballistic weapons, to State and non-State actors in the region.” Such actions only threaten the resumption of political discussions and risk further disrupting the region. “We are deeply concerned by the ongoing deteriorating of the humanitarian and security situation as tensions continue to rise,” he said, expressing concern that nearly 2 million Yemeni children suffer from acute and severe malnutrition. As relaunching a political process is the only way forward, the Council must help maintain the momentum achieved in Stockholm.
KACOU HOUADJA LÉON ADOM (Côte d’Ivoire) said the quest for peace in Yemen appears to be more difficult than ever due to factors including the parties’ lack of willingness to translate their commitments into action. Citing a climate of mistrust between the Government and the Houthis, he said a return to peaceful coexistence depends above all on good faith cooperation among all actors. Urging all parties to maintain dialogue with the Special Envoy and to implement the Stockholm Agreement, he said it is crucial to complete the retreat of Houthis from the ports of Salif, Ra’s Isa and Hodeidah, as laid out in phase one of the accord. Such actions will allow United Nations personnel to do their work, while also helping to open humanitarian channels and facilitate the exchange of prisoners and detainees. Voicing concern over Yemen’s severe humanitarian situation — including a resurgence of endemic diseases — he urged parties to cooperate closely with humanitarian actors and refrain from obstructing their work. He also voiced concern over the use of child soldiers and a recent attack on facilities in Saudi Arabia, noting that responsibility for the latter has been claimed by the Houthis.
JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) noted that restrictions on the movement of goods and personnel constitute a major obstacle thwarting the work of humanitarian actors in Yemen. Calling on the parties to take steps towards allowing the distribution of humanitarian goods, as well as funds arriving at the ports, he said the international community must also urgently and fully fund Yemen’s humanitarian response plan in order to save millions of lives. “Humanitarian access cannot be politicized, nor can it be used as a weapon of war,” he stressed, adding that the parties must refrain from impeding the collection of data needed to accurately address Yemen’s humanitarian needs. Further, the parties must do more to protect civilians, he said, stressing that the launching of missiles, attacks against civilians and the targeting of civilian infrastructure all represent flagrant violations of international humanitarian law and could amount to crimes against humanity under the purview of the International Criminal Court. Similarly, all parties must refrain from recruiting children as soldiers and commit to ensuring that the practice is fully investigated and prosecuted.
WU HAITAO (China) emphasized that the Stockholm Agreement, and Council resolution 2451 (2018) which endorsed it, are critical and must be fully implemented. Notable progress has been made, with the Hodeidah ceasefire largely holding. However, differences remain between the parties, and United Nations actors should help bridge the gaps. Urging Council members to remain united and provide political support, he condemned all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, noting that such violence has declined since the deployment of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement (UNMHA). All parties must facilitate the Mission’s full deployment and commit to advancing dialogue, he stressed, adding that Yemen’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence must be safeguarded. Expressing concern about the worsening humanitarian situation, he said the international community must scale up its assistance and fulfil all pledges in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the parties must ensure that aid reaches all those in need, he said, noting that China has contributed more than 7,000 metric tons of rice to date and will continue to provide support.
JOB OBIANG ESONO MBENGONO (Equatorial Guinea) welcomed the leadership role undertaken by the United Nations in Yemen, including its work supporting the Hodeidah Agreement. Despite some improvements, attacks and violence in Yemen are spreading. He urged all parties to comply with the commitments made and expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, adding that millions lack access to food and safe drinking water — conditions which expose people to such diseases as cholera. He expressed hope that the Government of Yemen and the Houthi leadership will allow unhindered access to all those needing humanitarian assistance, urging the Special Envoy and all parties to continue to work towards a political solution. The Council’s unity is crucial in addressing the conflict, he added, noting that a political solution is the only way forward.
JERRY MATTHEWS MATJILA (South Africa) urged parties to cease hostilities as fighting is not conducive to building trust and reaching a negotiated settlement. Differences cannot be resolved militarily. All sides must carry out their obligations under the Stockholm Agreement and withdraw their forces from Hodeidah, he said, adding that steps already taken in that regard are encouraging. Calling for the full implementation of resolution 2451 (2018) on the flow of humanitarian supplies and personnel, he said that text also demands that parties protect medical facilities and personnel, and facilitate their safe, rapid and unhindered passage. It is crucial that UNMHA is fully capacitated and its mandate carried out swiftly. Noting with regret that violence has escalated in recent weeks, he called on parties to refrain from using excessive force in civilian areas. The Council must support Yemen to ensure that it is safe to inhabit when the conflict is resolved, he said, also urging the parties to sign and implement a time-bound action plan to end and prevent grave violations as the only path towards delisting from the annexes of the Secretary-General’s annual report on children in armed conflict.
DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) condemned the attacks on Abha airport in Saudi Arabia on 12 and 16 June, stressing that such provocative actions jeopardize progress and may escalate violence in other parts of Yemen. The humanitarian costs are already too high. “All of us must join consensus in preventing an open conflict in Hodeidah, as it is a vital lifeline” for humanitarian assistance, he stressed. It is regrettable that humanitarian assistance is being politicized. He underscored the need for unhindered access to deliver assistance to the most needy, expressing support for the Stockholm Agreement, the Hodeidah ceasefire and the finalization of arrangements for the prisoner exchange agreement. War is never a desired option for any people, he stressed.
MARIUSZ LEWICKI (Poland) urged all parties to engage constructively with General Lollesgaard to finalize negotiations that allow for the full implementation of the Hodeidah Agreement. “It is time that the parties demonstrate their commitment to the outcomes of the talks in Stockholm by delivering on their obligations and advancing the redeployment of forces,” he said. Resumed consultations with the participation of all groups in Yemeni society, including women and youth, is the only way to bring about an end to the crisis. Parties must refrain from taking actions that could undermine the United Nations-led political process, he continued, condemning all attacks on the territory of Saudi Arabia. Advancing the political process and finding a broad political solution is particularly necessary, he stressed, adding that any denial of humanitarian access, diversion of resources or interference in humanitarian operations is simply unacceptable.
MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) welcomed the redeployment of Houthi troops away from the three ports identified in phase one of the Stockholm Agreement, and called on parties to make similar progress in other areas — including the exchange of prisoners and detainees and implementing the Ta’izz agreement. Yemen’s political process must be fully inclusive and reflect the country’s ethnic and geographic diversity, he said, warning that the ongoing violence only exacerbates the lack of trust between the parties and hinders the flow of humanitarian assistance. Calling on parties to exercise restraint and stop targeting civilians, he expressed concern about escalating tensions in the wider region, emphasizing that dialogue is the only way to achieve peace and stability. Meanwhile, renewed efforts are needed to address Yemen’s devastating humanitarian situation and all parties should facilitate those efforts while condemning the misappropriation of aid. Noting that Belgium has disbursed its pledges in full, he called on all States to do the same and urged the Special Envoy to ensure that child protection measures are included in Yemen’s peace process.
MANSOUR AYYAD SH. A. ALOTAIBI (Kuwait), Council President for June, spoke in his national capacity, noting that the past six months have seen Yemen’s political progress slow to a stalemate. A blockade remains in place and the suffering of the Yemeni people continues to escalate, he said, adding that no progress has yet been seen on the exchange of prisoners and detainees. Meanwhile, the Hodeidah Agreement’s implementation must continue under the auspices of the “tripartite committee”. Emphasizing that there can be no military solution to the crisis, he condemned in the strongest terms all attacks against civilian targets, including those in Saudi Arabia, and expressed full support for the latter’s sovereignty. Indeed, attacks against neighbouring countries constitute a breach of international law. Noting that Kuwait has already committed $250 million in humanitarian assistance, he urged the Council to take action to end the chronic obstructions of humanitarian access in Yemen, which amount to violations of international law.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) reiterated his Government’s determination to support the efforts of the Secretary-General and cooperate with the Special Envoy, noting that it has already demonstrated much flexibility and commitment, notably by participating in all rounds of talks under United Nations auspices “even though we know that these militia groups do not believe in dialogue or talks”. Rather they, with the support of Iran, stoke tensions and continue to destroy Yemen’s economy. Their overall purpose is to advance the goals of their Iranian puppet masters to destabilize Yemen and the region. While Houthi rebels misinterpret and disrespect the Stockholm and Hodeidah Agreements, his Government upholds its commitment to peace despite the many obstacles presented by armed militants.
Underscoring that redeployment operations cannot be approached in a scattered or piecemeal manner, he stressed: “This cannot be a selective approach.” He expressed concern over any redeployment of armed Houthi militants that fails to respect the Stockholm Agreement. There are many other militias “who, on paper, are not Houthi”, but are “the same beast just different faces” and must be recognized as such. Otherwise, there will be no peace, trust or confidence. The Houthi militias seek their own sectarian ends. The Government is dedicated to paying public sector workers across the country, but Houthi militants refuse to hand over the income in regions which they control. He urged the international community to provide support to these areas so people can regain control over their lives. Such actions have plummeted the value of the Yemeni currency, and while blame is pointed at the Government, this could not be further from the truth.
He went on to stress that the Houthis also have misappropriated life-saving aid, adding: “They want to sow discrimination and division within Yemeni society.” He warned the Council against sending ambiguous messages that can be twisted and misinterpreted. Houthis continue to target women and children, while the international community shirks its responsibility. Necessary measures must be taken to end military attacks on the people of Yemen. The many mines and improvised explosive devices now ensure that the lives of Yemeni people will be threatened for decades to come. The Houthis are also hindering access to the tanker, placing tons of oil at risk of spilling into the Red Sea. Their disregard for international decisions is further proof that they do not believe in peace.