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SC/14931
14 June 2022
9063rd Meeting (PM)

Extending Yemen's Truce Has Resulted in Improved Humanitarian Conditions, Reduced Civilian Casualties, Special Envoy Tells Security Council

Permanent Representative Urges International Community to Pressure Militias, Sponsors That Are Undermining Political Settlement

With the truce in Yemen extended for another two months — markedly improving the humanitarian situation and significantly reducing civilian casualties — efforts towards a lasting peace must be further consolidated, the Special Envoy for that country told the Security Council today, as members welcomed this positive development while also highlighting the ongoing challenges faced by the Yemeni people as a result of the seven-year-old conflict.

Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, reported that the truce has been holding in Yemen for two and a half months — unprecedented during this war and seemingly unimaginable at the beginning of 2022.  The parties recently extended the truce until 2 August, and it continues to hold in military terms, leading to a significant reduction in civilian casualties.  However, unexploded ordnance continues to claim lives, and there are reports from both sides regarding alleged violations.  To prevent a new cycle of violence, his office convened new meetings of the military coordination committee, which has agreed to meet monthly.

He stressed, however, that the truce must work to alleviate the suffering of the people of Taïz, describing a recent visit in which he witnessed how severe restrictions have crippled the economy, worsened access to health care and made travel difficult for civilians.  His office has developed a proposal for the phased opening of roads, to which the Government has responded positively.  Reporting that Ansar Allah has yet to respond, he urged them to do so without delay.  “The truce offers a rare opportunity to pivot towards peace that should not be lost,” he emphasized.

Ghada Mudawi, Acting Director of the Operations Division of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, echoing the Special Envoy’s assessment of the truce’s impact on the country, said the humanitarian crisis remains as severe today as it did before the truce.  Yemen is particularly vulnerable to the supply chain shocks emanating from the war in Ukraine as it depends on imports.  Beyond the food sector, huge gaps continue in services such as water, health and education.  Mine action is also urgently needed, and aid agencies are facing alarming levels of insecurity.

Despite these challenges, she pointed out that agencies are still delivering aid across Yemen, reaching 11 million people every month.  Still, the United Nations response plan is currently just 26 per cent funded and many essential programmes are scaling back when they should be expanding.  To make matters worse, the cost of humanitarian aid in Yemen is increasing due to rising global prices.  In addition, the project to prevent a catastrophic spill from the Safer oil tanker is stalled due to lack of funds.  “This issue, as you know, becomes more dangerous by the hour,” she stated.

Azal al-Salafi, Protection and Advocacy Officer at the Peace Track Initiative, pointed out that the participation of women in peace and political processes remains below the agreed-upon 30 per cent quota, and the committees formed as a result of the peace process still count no women among their members.  Highlighting the Feminist Peace Roadmap and thanking the Council for reflecting the Roadmap’s recommendations in the resolution adopted last February on inclusion and multitrack design, she urged the international community to support the Roadmap by considering it as a reference to the peace process.

In the ensuing discussion, Council members praised the agreement between Yemen's internationally recognized Government and Ansar Allah to extend the truce for two months.  However, many also expressed concern over the danger of unexploded ordnance, the looming environmental and humanitarian disaster threatened by the Safer oil tanker, recruitment of children and road closures around the city of Taïz.

On that point, the representative of the United Arab Emirates urged the Special Envoy to deepen his efforts to open the main roads in Taïz, which will contribute to confidence-building between the parties.  “The remarkable progress in the past two months brings hope that developments are proceeding in the right direction,” she said.  Yet, she also noted that, despite the current truce, the Houthis continue to mobilize, recruit and spread an extremist ideology in so called “summer camps”.

Brazil’s representative similarly called for efforts to monitor Ansar Allah’s commitment to cease recruiting and using children, as well as its commitment to release, rehabilitate and reintegrate them into society.  Additionally, the food security crisis in Yemen has been worsened by the unilateral economic measures of a few countries, and he encouraged donors to fully fund the United Nations humanitarian response plan.

The representative of Ghana also expressed concern that an estimated 19 million Yemenis are likely to face acute food insecurity in the second half of 2022, with about 161,000 people projected to experience famine-like situations.  The high risk of catastrophic spillage by the Safer oil tanker and the ensuing environmental and humanitarian disaster remains an urgent issue.  He called on the international community to bridge the huge revenue shortfall of almost 74 per cent of the $4.28 billion needed for the United Nations humanitarian response plan.

India’s representative joined others in spotlighting the threat posed by the Safer, welcoming pledges by certain countries to address this issue, along with the United Nations’ crowdfunding campaign to bridge the funding gap.  He also joined other speakers in urging that immediate progress be made on opening the roads to Taïz.  This is not only a humanitarian imperative, he stressed, but also crucial to ensuring that the implementation of the truce agreement is not “lop‑sided”.

The representative of Yemen said that the decision of the Presidential Leadership Council [the executive body of Yemen's internationally recognized Government] to extend the truce for two months was based on that body’s rejection of the use of humanitarian needs as leverage.  However, the Houthis continue to renege on their commitments, he said, adding that they have planted landmines indiscriminately, violate the truce daily, and are using the Safer as a bargaining chip.

Stressing that these militias do not care about the suffering of Yemenis — only political gain — he called on the international community and the Council to pressure the militias and their sponsors that are trying to undermine a political settlement.  “Peace cannot be achieved without a genuine, true partner,” he added.

Also speaking were representatives of the United Kingdom, Gabon, Russian Federation, Mexico, United States, China, Kenya, Ireland, Norway, France and Albania.

The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 4:53 p.m.

Briefings

HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said that the truce has been holding in Yemen for two and a half months, which is unprecedented during this war and seemed unimaginable at the beginning of 2022.  The parties recently extended the truce until 2 August, and it continues to hold in military terms.  However, while there has been a significant reduction in civilian casualties, those due to unexploded ordnance are increasing as people venture into previously inaccessible front-line areas.  Further, there are reports from both sides about alleged violations within Yemen, including shelling, drone attacks and the redeployment of armed forces.  Against that backdrop, he underlined the need to prevent such incidents from occurring, as they could provoke a new cycle of violence.  Towards that goal, his office convened new meetings of the military coordination committee, which has agreed to meet monthly.  These face-to-face meetings are the first step towards building trust and improving communication between the parties.

He went on to welcome the Government’s efforts to prioritize the needs of Yemenis by facilitating the opening of Sana’a Airport, also noting that a steady flow of fuel into Hudaydah port has been maintained throughout the truce.  This consistent delivery of fuel has relieved pressure on vital services, significantly decreased queues at petrol stations and allowed Yemenis to travel more easily throughout the country.  He also stressed that the truce must work to ease the suffering of the people of Taïz, whose freedom of movement has been greatly impeded for years by the conflict.  Describing a recent visit, he said that he witnessed first hand how severe restrictions have crippled the economy, worsened access to healthcare and made travel difficult for civilians.  To address this, his office has developed a proposal for the phased opening of roads, which the Government has responded positively.  However, reporting that Ansar Allah has yet to respond, he urged them to do so without delay.

Recent weeks have demonstrated the fragility of the truce, he continued, pointing to delayed implementation, transactionalism and escalatory media rhetoric as an undermining factor.  While the truce created a more conducive environment for the parties to engage in good faith, it also revealed contentious political issues such as revenue management, public sector salary payments, travel documents and a more durable ceasefire.  His office held consultations last month with Yemeni public figures, civil society and the private sector, he said, adding that discussion on political, security and economic issues “has given us a direction for the way forward”.  He underscored that a structured, inclusive and multitrack process can provide the platform required to reach durable solutions and an opportunity to move Yemen towards a sustainable political settlement that meets the demands of Yemeni women and men.  “The truce offers a rare opportunity to pivot towards peace that should not be lost,” he stressed.

GHADA MUDAWI, Acting Director, Operations and Advocacy Division, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said that in its first two months, the truce has had a tremendous impact — a drop in civilian casualties and an end to severe shortages.  Extending the truce would allow these trends to continue.  However, Yemen’s humanitarian crisis remains as severe today as it was before the truce.  The war in Ukraine is driving up prices of food and other commodities worldwide, as well as straining global supply chains.  Yemen is particularly vulnerable to these kinds of shocks as it depends on imports.  More than half a million children were already likely to suffer from severe acute malnutrition this year.  In addition, 19 million people across the country are estimated to be going hungry, including more than 160,000 who are at catastrophic levels of starvation and are on the brink of famine.  Since February, food prices in Yemen have risen by roughly another 10 per cent, and a government analysis projects that prices could rise another 50 per cent by the end of the year.

Beyond the food sector, huge gaps continue in services such as water, health and education, she continued.  Mine action is becoming urgent, as well, particularly as the truce allows more civilians to move around front-line areas. More than 4 million people are also still displaced, including more than 7,000 who fled in the last two months.  Aid agencies are facing alarming levels of insecurity.  Attempted carjackings, abductions and other attacks are all on the rise.  Two United Nations staff arrested in Sana’a last November remain in detention, and five United Nations staff kidnapped in Abyan in February are still missing, she said, calling for the immediate release of all detained staff. Despite these challenges, agencies are still delivering aid across Yemen, with more than 200 humanitarian partners — two thirds of them Yemeni organizations — are reaching 11 million people every month with assistance, working through the United Nations response plan.

The response plan, however, is currently just 26 per cent funded, she said.  Underfunding is the third major threat facing the humanitarian situation right now.  It is also the reason many essential programmes are scaling back when they should be expanding.  Food assistance has already been reduced for 8 million people.  Other sectors essential to preventing famine — including nutrition, health, water and sanitation — are all currently funded below 25 per cent.  Services for displaced people in Marib, Hajjah, Taïz and other places are also struggling.  So far this year, shelter programmes are just 14 per cent funded.  To make matters worse, humanitarian aid in Yemen is getting more expensive as a result of the rising global prices.  The World Food Programme (WFP) estimates its monthly operating costs in Yemen have gone up by as much as $30 million due to surging prices of food, fuel and transport.  On the threat of a catastrophic oil spill from the Safer tanker, which remains stalled due to lack of funds, she said the United Nations has received about $60 million in pledges for the project, which requires $144 million, including $80 million to get started.  “This issue, as you know, becomes more dangerous by the hour,” she said.

AZAL AL-SALAFI, Protection and Advocacy Officer at the Peace Track Initiative, noting positive signs such as the halting of cross-border military operations and the reopening of Sana’a airport, called for the opening of all roads inside the country.  Pointing to cases of aid relief convoys tipping over and people, including pregnant women, losing their lives, she welcomed the Government’s acceptance of the Envoy’s proposal for opening five roads and called on the Houthis to accept it.  People in Aden are suffering, she stressed, noting that the Yemeni riyal in Aden is extremely devalued, compared to that used in Sana’a, due to inconsistent economic policies.  Further, Aden suffers from poor basic services such as electricity, water and internet access.

Turning to the plight of Yemeni women human rights defenders and vulnerable groups who relocated outside Yemen to escape arbitrary detention and life‑threatening situations, she noted that many have successfully registered as refugees, but have been waiting for years for resettlement opportunities.  The participation of women in the peace and political processes remains limited and below the agreed-upon 30 per cent quota, she noted, adding that the committees formed as a result of the peace process still have no women among their members.  Drawing attention to the Feminist Peace Roadmap that was developed in consultations with local communities in Yemen, she described it as an expert document that was collectively envisioned by hundreds of Yemenis from all walks of life.

Thanking the Council for reflecting the Roadmap’s recommendations in the resolution adopted last February on inclusion and multi-track design, she called on the 15-nation organ to continue to support the truce and enable the opening of all Yemeni entry ports, airports and roads.  Also stressing the need to restrict the flow of arms into the country and support the removal of military camps and depots from highly populated cities, she urged the donor community to fulfil their humanitarian, development and reconstruction pledges to Yemen.  That will ensure sustainable solutions that empower Yemenis and focus on stabilizing basic services, disbursing salaries and strengthening infrastructure.  It is also crucial to support the establishment and funding of a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Survivors Fund without delay, she said, calling on the international community to support the Feminist Peace Roadmap by considering it as a reference to the peace process.

Statements

BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), reiterating her concern about the grave humanitarian impact of the continued road closures around Taïz, called upon the Houthis to continue to demonstrate the flexibility they have shown so far to reach a compromise, and open the main roads.  The three-track process outlined by the Special Envoy has allowed for positive progress on the economic and military tracks.  This includes dialogue on the payment of salaries and initiatives to support greater monetary policy coordination.  Welcoming that the military coordination committee intend to establish a joint coordination room, she pointed out that the number of civilian casualties remains well below pre-truce averages.  “But, we must strive for this figure to be zero,” she emphasized, noting that landmines and unexploded ordnances were the highest cause of casualties last month.  Warning that 2.2 million Yemini children are at risk of physical and cognitive impairments due to acute malnutrition, she called on all donors to ensure that funding is available and disbursed at pace.

LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates), describing Yemen as standing at a “critical juncture”, welcomed negotiations aimed at de-escalating violence and alleviating the suffering of civilians.  “The remarkable progress in the past two months brings hope that developments are proceeding in the right direction,” she said.  Applauding the engagement and flexibility of Yemen’s Government and praising the roles being played by Saudi Arabia and Oman, she called for more diplomatic endeavours and reiterated the need to ensure meaningful and active participation of Yemeni women.  Meanwhile, she urged the Special Envoy to deepen his efforts to immediately open the main roads in Taïz, which will contribute to confidence-building between the parties, build on the current momentum and advance the political process.  Despite the current truce, the Houthis continue to mobilize and recruit, spreading an extremist ideology in so-called “summer camps” in violation of the action plan recently signed with the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.  She called for efforts to address those actions, as well as the condition of the Safer oil tanker and the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country.

MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said that the two-month extension of the truce gives hope for a lasting peace to around 30 million Yemenis exhausted by fighting, illness, displacement and a collapsing economy.  Further, measures surrounding the truce, such as the circulation of essential goods and people, the resumption of commercial airlines, increased freedom of movement and the facilitation of humanitarian access will help improve the socioeconomic climate and stabilize the country.  However, the security situation remains fragile, and he stressed the importance of lifting the siege of Taïz.  He also expressed concern over the ongoing threat of unexploded ordnance, as well as attacks and kidnapping attempts perpetrated on non-governmental organization staff.  Additionally, the international community must keep food stocks and supply chains open to Yemen to prevent a food crisis that could negatively affect the weak progress seen to date.  He added a call for greater mobilization from the international community to avert an environmental and humanitarian disaster stemming from the Safer oil tanker.

DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) welcomed the agreement between the Presidential Leadership Council [the executive body of Yemen's internationally recognized Government] and the Ansar Allah movement to extend the truce for another two months.  Acknowledging the role of the Special Envoy in facilitating the truce, he pledged his country’s continued support for him.  Fulfilling all provisions of the truce and rejecting unilateral provocations will help bring about a comprehensive political settlement.  However, not everything goes as smoothly as hoped, he said, expressing regret that ongoing negotiations on the road reopening in Taïz has not led to the expected results.  In this regard, he called on the parties to find the “common denominator”.  He also expressed concern about the socioeconomic situation in Yemen, adding that it is necessary to lift restrictions on the delivery of food, medicines and other goods across all regions of Yemen, regardless of who controls the territory.  He then recalled Security Council resolution 598 (1987) and other initiatives aimed at subregional stabilization, including an updated Russian collective security concept.

JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) noted that the recent renewal of the truce should be seen as the renewal of an opportunity and called on all parties to cooperate and ensure the provision of full and safe humanitarian access.  Calling on Ansar Allah to make serious efforts regarding the roads into the city of Taïz, he also stressed that the ports of Hudaydah are also a critical lifeline for the Yemenis.  However, spotlighting reports of an uptick of casualties caused by landmines, including explosive remnants of war, he urged all parties to ensure effective demining operations and mine awareness activities.  He also called for efforts to monitor Ansar Allah’s commitment to cease recruiting and using children, as well as its commitment to release, rehabilitate and reintegrate them into Yemeni society.  Pointing to the food security crisis in Yemen, worsened by the unilateral economic measures by a few countries, he encouraged donors to fully fund the United Nations humanitarian response plan.

HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana) expressed deep concern that an estimated 19 million people in Yemen are likely to face acute food insecurity in the second half of this year, with about 161,000 people projected to experience famine-like situations.  About 2.2 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, with more than half a million at severe levels.  The high risk of a catastrophic oil spillage by the Safer and the ensuing humanitarian and environmental disaster also remains a matter of great concern.  Welcoming the renewal of the two-month nationwide truce, he called on the international community to bridge the huge revenue shortfall of almost 74 per cent of the $4.28 billion for the United Nations humanitarian response plan.  Calling for an indefinite extension of the truce both as a confidence-building measure and as evidence of the commitment of the conflicting parties to the political process, he urged on the parties to consider the proposal of reopening roads leading into and out of Taïz and other governorates.  He further acknowledged the recent resumption of commercial flights out of Sana’a for the first time in six years, which enabled 2,495 Yemenis to have travelled between Sana’a, Aman and Cairo.

ALICIA GUADALUPE BUENROSTRO MASSIEU (Mexico), welcoming the extension of the truce for a further two months, called on the parties to fully cooperate with the Special Envoy to reach agreement on opening the roads around Taïz.  Making progress on this issue is important, as doing so will contribute to alleviating the humanitarian suffering that has persisted there since 2016.  Expressing concern over the worsening humanitarian situation across the country, she said that hostilities and economic collapse have exacerbated vulnerabilities, especially among those with disabilities.  The international community must redouble efforts to guarantee humanitarian access, which includes ensuring the freedom of movement and security of humanitarian workers.  She also pointed out that the traumatic experience of seven years of armed conflict has led to a mental health crisis that affects a significant part of the population.  Funding must be provided for psychosocial support, she stressed, also calling for funding for demining tasks and addressing the situation of the Safer oil tanker.

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States) said that there is reason for hope thanks to the extension of the truce, describing it as “the best opportunity for peace”.  The past two months witnessed a reduction of civilian casualties and improved humanitarian access.  This is cause for genuine optimism.  However, difficult work lies ahead, she cautioned, drawing attention to United States President Joseph R. Biden’s trip to the region next month.  Parties to the conflict must faithfully implement the provisions of the truce, she said, urging them to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement.  It is incumbent for the Houthis to reopen roads in Taïz.  A political settlement is the only way to end the conflict. This process must include voices of women and other marginalized groups.  Further, the international community should not lose sight of the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen; donors should disburse their pledged funds.  As well, the United States is working to provide additional $10 million to salvage the Safer tanker.

ZHANG JUN (China), welcoming the extension of the truce agreement, said that the truce has brought initial peace dividends and “a ray of hope” to the Yemeni people.  Since the start of the truce, civilian casualties have halved, tankers have sailed into Hudaydah and flights have resumed into Sana’a.  Now, the main task is to fully implement the truce agreement, particularly with regards to opening the route to Taïz and mitigating the humanitarian situation therein as soon as possible.  On that, he expressed hope that the Yemeni parties will build on the Special Envoy’s proposals, demonstrating the political will to open the road to Taïz and to create the necessary conditions for peace talks.  He went on to express concern over the economic situation in Yemen, calling on the international community to maintain focus on the situation there and “lend a helping hand” by assisting the country in stabilizing its currency, alleviating the energy shortage and meeting the basic needs of the population.

GIDEON KINUTHIA NDUNG'U (Kenya) welcomed the extension of the truce in Yemen as a positive step.  Noting concessions made by the Government, he voiced his hope that the Houthis will similarly engage constructively — in particular by opening roads in Taïz.  Expressing deep concern over the country’s security situation, he said reports of a recent uptick in suspected Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, and activity in Aden and southern Yemen could further fragment the fragile security situation.  The peace process should incorporate disarmament, demobilization and reintegration in such a way that reintegrated former fighters do not relapse into armed conflict or radicalization.  In addition, there was concern over Yemen’s dire economic and humanitarian situation, which are being impacted by disruptions in global food and energy supply chains.  To address those challenges, he urged more support for Yemen’s 2022 humanitarian response plan, the promotion of local agriculture and food production and increased development assistance, among other things.

GERALDINE BYRNE NASON (Ireland), calling the parties’ extension of the April truce “heartening good news”, said that the establishment of a joint coordination room and agreement on monthly meetings by the military coordination committee is further positive signals of the parties’ commitment to de-escalation through communication and building trust.  She also hailed first steps towards re-opening roads in Taïz — whose closures have been described as a “repulsive environment” for humanitarian and medical workers — and welcomed progress towards addressing the threats posed by the Safer oil tanker.  However, she also voiced concern about the fragile security situation across the country, especially in Marib, Hudaydah, Aden and elsewhere in the south.  In that context, she called for the prioritization of mine clearance, urged the international community to address funding gaps and called for support for an inclusive, Yemeni-led and -owned political settlement, under United Nations auspices.

TRINE HEIMERBACK (Norway) noted that the two-month renewal of the truce in Yemen has dramatically reduced civilian casualties, increased fuel deliveries and resumed commercial flights through Sana’a airport.  Urging Ansar Allah to consider the United Nations proposal of opening the roads in and out of Taïz city is a critical next step.  It is important to seize the humanitarian gains from the truce to facilitate progress towards a comprehensive political settlement, she said, stressing the importance of designing a process that includes diverse voices and interests, especially women and youth who are most impacted by conflicts.  Welcoming the first and second meeting of the military coordination committee, she noted that it was the first time that the parties have met face to face under United Nations auspices.  She also expressed deep concern about growing food insecurity in the country and the dire risk of famine, mine-related deaths and injuries, and the humanitarian and ecological danger related to the Safer tanker emergency.

NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France), welcoming the extension of the truce, reiterated her call for a permanent nationwide ceasefire.  Citing significant concessions made by the Yemeni Government in recent weeks, including the opening of commercial flights from Sana’a airport, she called on the Houthis to reopen the roads in Taïz.  The people in that city have been cut off from the world for years.  This situation is unacceptable.  Emphasizing the importance of ensuring full humanitarian access to all people in need, she warned that Yemen continues to face food insecurity.  Regarding the Safer oil tanker, urgent action is needed to avoid an ecological and humanitarian catastrophe.  She also underscored the need to include Yemeni women in the peace process, pointing out that the prospect of peace has never been closer.  “Let's not miss this opportunity,” she stressed.

AMARNATH ASOKAN (India) said that the truce, now renewed for two months, has helped reduce violence and civilian casualties while also providing an opportunity for direct meetings between the parties.  Further, it has resulted in significant humanitarian gains, such as the opening of Sana’a airport that has brought relief to many — especially those who require urgent medical care.  In addition, at a time when global oil prices are increasing, the number of fuel ships entering Hudaydah has alleviated the suffering of millions.  He encouraged the parties to build on this progress and convert the truce into a durable ceasefire.  He also called for immediate progress on opening the roads to Taïz, which is not only a humanitarian imperative, but is also important to ensure the implementation of the truce agreement is not “lop-sided”.  He went on to spotlight the environmental, humanitarian and maritime threat posed by the Safer oil tanker, welcoming pledges by certain countries to address this issue, along with the United Nations’ crowdfunding campaign to bridge the funding gap.

FERIT HOXHA (Albania), Council President for June, speaking in his national capacity, described the resumption of flights between Sana’a airport and Amman and Cairo, as well as for the entry of fuel ships into Hudaydah port, as “dividends of the truce”, which have brought relief to thousands of Yemenis.  The parties should continue their engagement for the re-opening of roads in Taïz and other Governates.  He then called on the Houthis to reciprocate the flexibility shown by the Government.  The full implementation of the truce should lead to a nationwide comprehensive permanent ceasefire.  The political process should be inclusive.  Therefore, the meaningful participation of women and youth and civil society representatives remains of paramount importance.  Children continue to suffer the brunt of war, even after the truce, he said, calling on the Houthis to release the children they have recruited and work for the full implementation of the Action Plan they signed up last April.  The situation of women also testifies to the need to maintain evidence-based monitoring and reporting mechanisms, as well as independent, international, impartial capabilities to monitor the human rights situation in Yemen.

ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) noting that the Special Envoy and certain Council members mentioned the issue of landmines in Yemen, emphasized that it is the Houthis that are planting such mines indiscriminately, including more than 2 million in past years.  This has claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians, disabled women and children and will continue to cause suffering.  Turning to the Presidential Leadership Council’s approval to extend the truce for two months, he said this decision was based on that body’s rejection of the use of humanitarian needs as a bargaining chip.  However, the Houthis continue to renege on their commitments, obstructing international efforts to achieve peace and deepening the humanitarian crisis.  They have stolen tax revenues and refused to pay the salaries of public employees, which demonstrates that these militias do not care about the suffering of Yemenis, only political gain.

Since the beginning of the truce, the Government has exercised self‑restraint despite daily violations by the Houthis, including artillery shelling, drone flights and the redeployment of troops, he continued.  These ongoing violations are a test for the international community and the Council, who must pressure the militias and their sponsors that are trying to undermine a political settlement.  “Peace cannot be achieved without a genuine, true partner,” he said.  He also called on the international community to keep Yemen at the top of its list of priorities and to integrate development needs into humanitarian interventions.  The working methods of United Nations agencies must move from rescue and humanitarian action to rescue, development and peacebuilding action, creating jobs, promoting growth, developing infrastructure and providing basic services.  Further, Houthi militias are using the Safer oil tanker as a bargaining chip.  The Council must act swiftly to ensure the Houthis abide by the United Nations plan and on the international community to fund and implement the plan to avoid a disaster that will cost billions of dollars to address.

For information media. Not an official record.