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SC/14735
14 December 2021
8929th Meeting (AM)

Warring Parties in Yemen Must Talk Even If They ‘Are Not Ready’ to Put Down Arms, Special Envoy Tells Security Council, Describing Escalating Violence

Urging 15-Nation Organ to Save Yemeni Lives, Key Representative Stresses Houthis Believe in Ethnic Supremacy, Do Not Want Political Solution

Warring parties can and must talk even if they are not ready to put down their arms, the Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy for Yemen told the Security Council today, as he and the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs shared a grim snapshot of escalating violence, shifting front lines and widespread hunger, displacement and desperation among civilians.

“Given that the parties have not met to discuss a broader set of issues for over five years, establishing a renewed political process is a complicated task,” said Special Envoy Hans Grundberg in his briefing.  Expressing his alarm regarding the current considerable military escalation and increased violence since his last Council briefing, he warned that this could open a new more fragmented and bloodier chapter.  While parties have expressed a desire for peace, the focus remains on military options.

Restraint, de‑escalation and dialogue are urgently needed, he said, recalling such recent events as the Government’s military evacuation in Hudaydah and the influx of Ansar Allah forces that has shifted front lines amid heightened artillery and air strikes.  Nonetheless, military escalation must not be allowed to stop the peace process, with the Council’s support being critical in that regard.  Actions must centre on mitigating the conflict’s impact on civilians and aim at ending the conflict, he stressed, adding that: “Wars do have rules”, and the parties must respect those obligations, including the protection of civilians.

Ramesh Rajasingham, Acting Assistant Secretary‑General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said serious gaps persist in reaching the most vulnerable in Yemen due to funding constraints that are poised to worsen unless donors increase contributions.  Still, every month, emergency aid reaches about 80 per cent of recently displaced people in Marib, Hudaydah and Taiz, and 11 million people — a third of the population — across the country.  Meanwhile, aid delivery challenges are greatest in regions controlled by Ansar Allah and face a rise in bureaucratic hurdles in Government‑held areas.

With Yemen’s economy in freefall, millions more people are pushed into aid dependence, he said, calling for the implementation of a United Nations-developed economic framework aimed at helping to address rampant inflation and plummeting currency values.  Noting the recent appointment of a new Governor and Board of Directors for the Central Bank in Aden, he urged Yemen’s partners to work closely with them and encouraged such measures as lifting restrictions on commercial imports through the Red Sea ports to help lower commodity prices.

When the floor opened, Council members roundly called for boosting efforts to advance peace talks and end the spiralling violence.  Many urged all parties to cooperate with the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) and heed obligations to international law to protect civilians.

The United States representative, expressing support for all discussions to help the current situation, said Iran must end its “lethal support” of the Houthis, who must, among other things, return seized property to the United States Embassy, end missile strikes against Saudi Arabia and take responsibility for the Safer tanker crisis.

Echoing other members’ concerns, Norway’s delegate said measures must urgently address widespread displacement.  Calling on all parties to show restraint, she pointed to the 45,000 displaced people living in camps in Marib under difficult conditions — a tenfold increase since September.  She also cited the latest report by Save the Children, which documented Yemen as being among the top three countries globally where children are at risk of being recruited for use in armed conflict.

In the same vein, the Russian Federation’s representative said the humanitarian crisis is approaching a full‑scale disaster.  Stagnation in the political process appears to be reaching a point of no return; the parties have dug in their heels and are not ready to restart United Nations‑led negotiations.  As such, the Special Envoy’s mediation attempts will remain unsuccessful, he said, underlining a real need to review the basis for the political settlement in order for the Special Envoy help to reconcile the numerous competing interests of parties to the conflict.

The representative of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, highlighting factors driving the conflict, said a political solution to the armed conflict must be pursued in parallel with a comprehensive plan to reinvigorate the economy.  These two factors are also deeply connected to the catastrophic humanitarian situation, she observed, appealing to donors to disburse funds and increase pledges with a sense of urgency.

Kenya’s delegate, emphasizing that arms smuggling continues to feed the ongoing atrocities, stressed that the Security Council must deal with those who are benefiting from the suffering of the people of Yemen.  Pointing to recent reports of an intercepted illicit arms shipment destined for Yemen, he said armed groups in several countries, including Yemen and Somalia, are increasingly using the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean for smuggling, which undermines existing arms embargoes.  To address this trend, efforts must be boosted to tighten the implementation of related sanctions.

Ireland’s representative stressed: “Yemenis want to wake up from this nightmare.”.  Recalling a recent declaration by 40 Yemeni tribal leaders calling for a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire, she urged the Houthis to immediately halt their offensive on Marib.  Underscoring the importance of gender‑mainstreaming Yemen’s peace negotiations, she also welcomed the Yemen Economic Framework and encouraged all parties, including international financial institutions, to constructively engage it.

The representative of Yemen called on the Security Council to assume its responsibility to end the Houthi offensive in Marib and save the lives of millions of civilians and internally displaced persons.  Support was also needed for the Yemeni Government in its temporary capital of Aden as it works to overcome the humanitarian crisis, implement structural reforms, regulate the financial sector and stabilize the currency.

However, he also underscored that the Houthis believe in their ethnic and divine supremacy and do not want a political solution, as demonstrated by their use of all international and regional initiatives to buy time and continue attacks on Yemen, Saudi Arabia and humanitarian personnel.  He also highlighted that millions of Yemeni children who live in Houthi‑controlled areas are at risk of recruitment and subject to brainwashing.  That armed group is using schools as military barracks and weapon depots and is subjecting women to kidnapping and torture.

Also speaking were representatives of the United Kingdom, Viet Nam, China, Estonia, Tunisia, India, France, Mexico and Niger.

The meeting began at 10:05 a.m. and ended at 11:46 a.m.

Briefings

HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary‑General for Yemen, expressed his alarm regarding the considerable military escalation and increased violence in Yemen since his last Council briefing.  Indeed, there is a risk that this could open a new more fragmented and bloodier chapter, as acknowledged by Yemeni and regional stakeholders.  While parties have expressed a desire for peace, the focus remains on military options.  Restraint, de-escalation and dialogue are urgently needed.  Providing a snapshot of recent major events, he recalled that on 12 November the Government‑affiliated Joint Forces evacuated their positions in Hudaydah.  Ansar Allah forces immediately took control of the vacated area, leading to a major shift in the frontline in the governate to the south, where the parties employed heavy artillery and aerial strikes.  Although hostilities have eased since the start of December, reports show civilian casualties and the displacement of thousands of families since the withdrawal.  At the same time, the battle for Marib continued with intensified fighting and airstrikes, he noted, highlighting concerns about the possibility of urban warfare.

The shifting frontlines of battle are forcing people to flee, he continued, adding that the increased use of artillery, missiles and air strikes remains a grave concern.  He pointed to the summary execution of 10 individuals on 13 November, which the United Nations has condemned, as an example of the worrying disregard for international law.  “Wars do have rules”, he stressed, and parties must respect those obligations, including the protection of civilians and of prisoners of war.  His office remains in contact to facilitate the release of detainees, as per the Stockholm Agreement.

Turning to other challenges, including the economy, he said frustration and despair in Aden is clear.  Falling currency value and depleted purchasing power and inflation have placed immense burdens on the citizens and the private sector.  There is an urgent need for economic de‑escalation and wider reform, he said, expressing hope that recent Government measures will lead to fruitful results.  Massive challenges remain, however.  Restrictions on the freedom of movement and goods continue to impose a burden on the population, especially women.  The roads and Sana’a Airport must be opened and impediments lifted to ease imports and the distribution of fuel.  He also raised concerns about the detention of United Nations personnel.

Elaborating on recent efforts, he said his work, focused on stakeholder meetings, reflected the complexities and gravity of the conflict.  In that regard, he has focused on establishing close and trustworthy relations with Member States in the region.  The conditions parties are imposing on negotiations must be addressed through more comprehensive talks.  The conflict has continued unabated since talks in Kuwait in 2016 and gaps have only widened.  A commitment to peace requires granting access to the Special Envoy, among other things, and keeping all communication channels open.  “Let us therefore be frank.  Given that the parties have not met to discuss a broader set of issues for over five years, establishing a renewed political process is a complicated task,” he said.

Piecemeal solutions can only provide temporary relief, and a solution cannot be sustainable unless it reflects all of society, he said.  Structured and coordinated international support is central to efforts going forward, including concrete actions to support peace.  The Council’s support is critical in this regard, he stressed.  Actions must centre on mitigating the conflict’s impact on civilians and aim at sustainably ending the war.  Efforts must also represent the interests of all citizens.  Military escalation must not be allowed to stop this process, he said, adding: “Warring parties can and must talk even if they are not ready to put down their arms.”

RAMESH RAJASINGHAM, Acting Assistant Secretary‑General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said the conflict has escalated along several fronts despite repeated international and domestic calls for a nationwide ceasefire.  Among other incidents, he said that on 9 December, missiles struck a camp for displaced people, injuring five civilians.  Meanwhile, fighting intensified in southern Hudaydah and Taiz following the redeployment of Government‑aligned forces, displacing more than 25,000 people and leading to an uptick in civilian casualties, including five civilians reportedly killed in an air strike in Taiz.  Hostilities have continued in nearly 50 front lines across the country, resulting in civilian casualties and damage to civilian infrastructure.  Calling on all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and to facilitate impartial humanitarian relief, he also renewed his call on Ansar Allah to stop the Marib offensive and for the parties to adopt a nationwide ceasefire.

Against this backdrop, he outlined humanitarian activities being undertaken, including emergency aid to about 80 per cent of recently displaced people in Marib, Hudaydah and Taiz, and 11 million people — a third of the population — across the country every month.  However, there are serious gaps in providing aid to the most vulnerable people in Marib and elsewhere, with aid reaching 5 million fewer people than intended by this year’s response plan.  The gap is primarily due to funding constraints which are about to get worse.  The looming shortfalls might lead to a cutting back of food rations for millions of hungry people by the World Food Programme (WFP), and a decline in support for malnourished children by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), among other impacts.  Further, there has been drastic underfunding of critical sectors like water, sanitation, health and shelter, which received only 20 per cent of requirements this year, as well as in camp coordination, which is vital for internally displaced persons response.  He called on donors to increase support for Yemen, noting that aid requirements for next year are likely to be equal to those this year, which called for $3.85 billion to help 16 million people.

Turning to challenges posed to aid delivery, he noted they are greatest in regions controlled by Ansar Allah, including restrictions on movement of aid workers and unacceptable attempts to interfere with the selection of partners or beneficiaries.  Further, Ansar Allah authorities continue to detain two United Nations staff members in Sana’a, despite assurances from their leadership that they would be released, he said, adding that no official information has been received regarding their arrest.  In Government‑held areas, aid agencies face a rise in bureaucratic hurdles, including visa delays.  He expressed concern about the arrest several weeks ago of a United Nations contractor in Marib, calling for immediate access to the staff and for official information to be shared regarding the arrests.

However, he stressed that the biggest challenge to aid delivery is an escalation of underlying problems.  With Yemen’s economy in freefall, millions more people are pushed into dependence on aid.  “But humanitarian aid is not the way to solve these problems,” he emphasized, calling for the implementation of a United Nations‑developed economic framework, which could help stabilize the Yemeni rial and help people afford food and essential goods.  Noting the recent appointment of a new Governor and Board of Directors for the Central Bank in Aden, he urged Yemen’s partners to work closely with them to improve economic conditions in the country.  Other measures in the economic framework will require political commitments, like lifting restrictions on commercial imports through the Red Sea ports to help lower commodity prices.

Statements

BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom) expressed concern over escalating conflict in Yemen over the last month, which has pushed the country deeper into humanitarian crisis through increased civilian casualties and displacement.  Particularly worrying is the impact of front‑line fighting in populated areas, such as the cities of Hudaydah, Taiz and Marib.  She also condemned continued Houthi cross‑border attacks into Saudi Arabia, which diminish the opportunity for real progress towards a political settlement.  Stressing that “as the military picture worsens, the humanitarian imperatives increase”, she called on the Yemeni Government to facilitate access for non‑governmental organizations to deliver needed life‑saving assistance.  The Government must also commit to necessary economic reform, and the international community and international financial institutions must continue to assist the Government in implementing that reform.  She also spotlighted the humanitarian urgency of diffusing the threat posed by the oil tanker Safer, which continues to deteriorate off Yemen’s coast, risking an oil spill that would devastate the livelihoods of nearly 4 million people.

 TRA PHUONG NGUYEN (Viet Nam), welcoming the Special Envoy’s diplomatic efforts to engage more partners and stakeholders for an inclusive political process, expressed grave concern that the security situation in 2021 has shown no sign of improvement from the previous year.  Calling for the cessation of hostilities across the country, especially in Marib, she underlined the need for a return to talks and for support for the Special Envoy's efforts to reach a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict.  Protracted conflict, economic crisis, food insecurity, the collapse of essential services and the COVID‑19 pandemic, among others, have posed enormous challenges to the already deteriorating situation in Yemen.  There must be predictable funding for humanitarian aid and other adequate support for the country.  As Viet Nam’s term in the Council is coming to an end, her delegation remains hopeful that the United Nations‑led comprehensive political solutions will be reached soon, she said.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) urged all parties involved to engage with the Special Envoy in good faith, noting that unfortunately, recent months have witnessed a series of Houthi actions that undermine peace.  Condemning the detention of United Nations staff in Sana’a, she also cited Houthi harassment of United States embassy staff and intrusion into that compound.  She called on them to immediately vacate it and return all seized property.  The Houthis must also cease their actions in Marib province, which OCHA has warned could displace half a million people.  Citing the 9 December missile strike on a migrant camp, she stressed it is unacceptable to attack civilians.  She further condemned ballistic missile attacks on Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — noting there have been 350 such attacks by Houthis this year, a shocking increase.  Iran must end its “lethal support” to the Houthis, she stressed, welcoming the support of other parties to improve conditions in Yemen.  The 6 December appointment of a new governor of the country’s central bank is an encouraging sign, she said, expressing hope that it will ease humanitarian suffering and advance reforms.  Turning to the Safer tanker, she emphasized that the Houthis bear responsibility for that crisis.  The United States supports any discussion that can aid the situation, she added.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines) condemned the continued hostilities in Yemen, including the recent indiscriminate strikes that landed on an internally displaced persons camp in Marib and the bombing in Haj-jah.  A political solution to the armed conflict must be pursued in parallel with a comprehensive plan to reinvigorate the economy.  These two factors are drivers of the conflict and are deeply connected to the catastrophic humanitarian situation, she observed, appealing to donors to disburse funds and increase pledges with a sense of urgency.  She also called for a sustained cessation of hostilities and the resumption of an inclusive political process that is Yemeni-led and Yemeni‑owned, underscoring that women cannot be excluded from this process and must, instead, be afforded the opportunity to meaningfully participate in decision‑making and in the shaping of agendas and practices.  In addition, she reiterated support for all efforts to address the ongoing threat posed by the Safer oil tanker.

GENG SHUANG (China), noting the heavy casualties exacted by military hostilities in Marib and other fronts and the serious threat to security posed by frequent attacks on civilian infrastructure in Saudi Arabia, stressed the need for political settlement.  Supporting the United Nations‑mediated peace process in Yemen, he expressed hope that the Special Envoy will rapidly develop an actionable roadmap towards this end.  In the more than six years of conflict, food prices have doubled, employment has shrunk and purchasing power has declined, pushing Yemen to the brink of famine.  Stressing that the international community must offer more effective, sustainable assistance in response to Yemen’s economic and humanitarian crises, he pointed out that the United Nations’ economic framework for the country aims to improve local food productivity, bolster purchasing power, lower the prices of imported food and improve market liquidity.  To this end, he encouraged donor countries to increase bilateral and multilateral assistance to Yemen.  On the oil tanker Safer, he expressed hope that the Houthis honour their promise to allow a United Nations team to inspect and repair the vessel without delay.

GIDEON KINUTHIA NDUNG’U (Kenya) said the recent reports of interception of an illicit shipment of weapons reportedly destined for Yemen demonstrates the country’s continued deep slide into conflict.  Increasingly, armed groups in several countries, including Yemen and Somalia, are using the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and the Indian Ocean off Somalia’s coast to smuggle weapons that directly feed atrocities.  There have been multiple captures of smuggling vessels, indicating that more could be traversing unimpeded.  This undermines existing arms embargoes and increases the threat to peace and security in the Middle East and the Horn of Africa.  It further undermines the mandate and will of the Security Council and should therefore be met with the tightening of embargoes implementation.  It is for the Council to make clear its determination to deal with those supplying arms to the conflicts in the region and benefiting from the suffering of the people of Yemen.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), voicing concern over the particularly worrying situation around Marib province, pointed out that since September alone, 45,000 additional people have been displaced in the area.  Special focus should be placed on protection of women and children, who make up 80 per cent of one million internally displaced persons currently in Marib.  He also noted that after the withdrawal of pro‑Government forces from Hudaydah, fighting has intensified on the Red Sea coast, displacing more than 25,000 people.  He condemned the Houthis’ cross‑border attacks on Saudi Arabia and further called on them to engage without preconditions in the United Nations‑led efforts for achieving peace.  Welcoming the Yemeni Tribal Conference which took place last week in Amman, he added it is also essential to increase the meaningful participation of women and youth in peace negotiations.  Spotlighting the failure of the United Nations Human Rights Council to extend the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts, he underscored that it is even more vital for the Council to intensify its calls for monitoring the human rights situation in Yemen, in order to promote accountability and the fight against impunity.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland) voiced regret that despite efforts to secure peace, there has been further deadly deterioration on the ground.  “Yemenis want to wake up from this nightmare,” she stressed.  Noting that more than 40 tribal leaders convened and called for a comprehensive and immediate ceasefire last week, she urged the Houthis to immediately halt their offensive on Marib and condemned the cross‑border attacks into Saudi Arabia.  More than six years of crisis in Yemen have shown that no party can hold a monopoly on governance.  All parties must accept this reality in order to move towards an inclusive and diverse political landscape.  Underscoring the importance of gender-mainstreaming Yemen's peace negotiations, she also welcomed the Yemen Economic Framework proposed by the Organization and encouraged all parties, including international financial institutions, to constructively engage it.

ALI CHERIF (Tunisia) expressed concern over the escalating tension in Yemen, underscoring that there is no military solution.  Years of conflict only brought destruction to the country, including killings, displacement, the collapse of the economy and instability in the region.  Emphasizing the need for a political solution based on the Council decisions, he reiterated calls for a ceasefire and resumptions of political talks with the participation of women.  He said he looked forward to the Special Envoy fashioning the comprehensive approach.  Noting the latest communique issued by tribal leaders, he said they called for an immediate ceasefire, the opening of humanitarian corridors and the release of detainees and prisoners, among others.  He urged the Houthis to provide access to the Safer oil tanker to avoid an environmental catastrophe in the region.

T.S. TIRUMURTI (India), echoing grave concerns about escalating violence and the shift in Hudaydah frontlines, encouraged parties to coordinate all future redeployments with the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA).  Despite efforts to address the plight of civilians, the underlying causes of the humanitarian crisis have not been addressed, he said, emphasizing that short‑ and long‑term measures must aim at improving the economic situation.  Political and financial international support is an essential requirement for success.  Ansar Allah must address pressing concerns, including the Safer oil tanker.  Calling for a ceasefire and a robust, inclusive political process, he urged parties to the conflict to end fighting and engage with the Special Envoy to seek a political solution.  Inclusive dialogue must include women, as well.  He also urged countries in the region to exert efforts to restore peace and order.

NICOLAS DE RIVIÈRE (France), sharing the Special Envoy’s concern over the serious escalation on the ground, stressed that violence is visible everywhere in deadly clashes, bombings and displacements.  He urged the Houthis to cease their attacks on Saudi Arabia and reiterated the call for a national ceasefire.  With the situation worsening in the south, he voiced support for the Yemeni Government and full implementation of the Riyadh Agreement.  Rocket fire on Marib and internally displaced persons camps is unacceptable, he emphasized, further condemning the arbitrary arrest of two United Nations staffers and demanding their immediate liberation.  Humanitarian staff must also be permitted to deliver aid and accelerate the COVID‑19 vaccination campaign, along with immediate issuance of visas to such personnel.  He called on all parties to cooperate in good faith with the Special Envoy without preconditions and for regional actors to facilitate talks between relevant parties.  As the Safer tanker remains an environmental ticking time bomb, he urged the Houthis to grant access, adding that their continued blackmail on the subject remains unacceptable.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) warned that stagnation in the political process appears to be reaching a point of no return.  The international community should recognize the reality that the parties have dug in their heels and are not ready to restart United Nations‑led negotiations.  Against this backdrop, the Special Envoy’s mediation attempts will remain unsuccessful.  Moreover, the situation on the ground no longer has anything to do with the theatre of hostilities on the ground, he said, pointing out that this changed picture is not reflected by Security Council resolution 2216 (2015).  Therefore, there is a real need to review the basis for the political settlement in order to enable the Special Envoy to reconcile the numerous competing interests of parties to the conflict.  The language of sanctions, while it can be used to push forward a political process, must not be used to up the ante towards particular parties to the conflict.  On the humanitarian crisis, which is approaching a full‑scale disaster, he urged the warring parties to refrain from hostilities which are causing civilian casualties and destroying non‑military infrastructure.

MONA JUUL (Norway), urging all parties to show restraint, pointed to the increasing number of displaced people living in camps in the Marib province under difficult conditions — now totalling 45,000, which is tenfold since September.  Condemning the recent attack on Al Hamma camp where four children and one woman were injured, she cited the latest report by Save the Children, which documented Yemen as being among the top three countries globally where children are at risk of being recruited for use in armed conflict.  Regarding the recent developments in the Hudaydah governate, she said that the conditions for civilians have worsened after the withdrawal of Coalition‑supported forces.  Expressing concern about OCHA’s reporting of 25,000 people being displaced in November alone, she encouraged the parties of the Stockholm Agreement to accept the offer by UNMHA to facilitate discussions between the parties.  She also stressed the need to address the economic situation and stabilize the currency in Yemen and reiterated her country’s deep concern for the Safer oil tanker, and the lack of cooperation from the Houthis on achieving progress.

ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico) said that the intensifying offensive on Marib and resurging violence in Hudaydah, Taiz and Sana’a are seriously impacting civilians and causing new waves of displacement.  Condemning the recent launching of two missiles on a camp for internally displaced persons in the Marib Governorate, she called on parties to the conflict to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law — particularly the principles of distinction and proportionality.  She also condemned the breach of a compound occupied by the United States embassy in Sana’a and the recent detention of two United Nations officials, urging the Houthis to liberate such officials immediately.  It is regrettable, she added, that no impartial mechanism for accountability exists, as combating impunity is critical for social reconciliation in countries torn apart by conflict. The conflict is one of the main causes of Yemen’s economic collapse and, without laying down arms, it will be impossible to strengthen State institutions. Without such institutions, necessary economic policies, such as port management, payment of public servants and tax collection will not be implemented, she stressed.

ABDOU ABARRY (Niger), Council President for December, spoke in his national capacity, stressing that there is no military solution to the crisis in Yemen.  The ongoing battle in Marib illustrates this reality.  The settlement of this crisis must be the result of an inclusive dialogue, led by the Yemenis themselves, with the support of the international community.  Urging all parties to commit to a nationwide ceasefire, he said the truce remains essential for a resumption of the peace talks.  This long‑awaited peace will only be achieved by the Yemenis themselves.  Regional stakeholders and Council members with influence should facilitate the reconciliation of the parties.  Citing a report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), he said about 60 per cent of deaths are caused by indirect consequences of conflict, such as lack of clean water, hunger, disease and extreme poverty.  He urged donor countries and especially those in the region to be more generous towards funding the United Nations Yemen humanitarian response plan.  To avoid incalculable damage that the explosion of the Safer oil tanker could have on the environment, he called on the Houthis to issue the authorizations necessary for the United Nations team to inspect the tanker.

ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said that since the last open briefing two months ago, humanitarian suffering in Yemen has increased due to Houthi attacks on cities and internally displaced persons camps.  More than 17,000 families, comprising 101,000 people, were recently displaced and Houthi militias are obstructing implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.  Drawing attention to people held captive in Houthi‑controlled areas, he questioned if UNMHA should continue to operate, as it is silent in face of repeated violations.  Houthi militias continue to target civilians in Marib, recently launching two Iranian‑made ballistic missiles, killing women and children.  Further, a missile launched yesterday as a retaliatory attack proves they are bloodthirsty terrorists.  He called on the Council to assume its responsibility to end that offensive and save the lives of millions of civilians and internally displaced persons.  He also urged support for the Yemeni Government in its temporary capital of Aden as it works to overcome the humanitarian crisis, implement structural reforms, regulate the financial sector and stabilize the currency.

Ending the suffering will not be possible without an immediate ceasefire and resumption of the political process in line with the Initiative of the Gulf Cooperation Council and resolution 2216 (2015), he stated, affirming to his Russian Federation colleague that the resolution remains the basis for a solution in Yemen.  However, Houthis do not want a political solution, he pointed out.  They believe in their ethnic and divine supremacy, viewing peace efforts as a way to prolong the war and using all international and regional initiatives to buy time and continue attacks on Yemen, Saudi Arabia and humanitarian personnel.

Condemning the breach of the United States embassy compound in Sana’a, he highlighted the recent interception of a shipment from Iran of 171 surface‑to‑air missiles, other arms and 1.1 million barrels of oil derivatives.  Millions of Yemeni children live in Houthi‑controlled areas and are at risk of recruitment and subject to brainwashing.  The Houthis are also using schools as military barracks and weapon depots and are subjecting women to kidnapping and torture.  In addition, the Safer tanker has not received any maintenance or repair and remains a ticking time bomb, potentially one of worst environmental crises in the world.

For information media. Not an official record.