22 April 2016

Note to Correspondents: Statement of UN Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed – First Press Conference on Peace Talks in the State of Kuwait

Good evening and thank you for your presence today.

The Yemen Peace Talks hosted by the State of Kuwait have begun yesterday. We hope they will forge a long-awaited new phase, the phase of peace, security and respect for human rights.

The cessation of hostilities came into force at midnight on 10 April. Despite alarming breaches in some areas there has been a marked improvement in security according to independent sources. We heard this morning about clashes in Taiz and other regions. We have called on all concerned parties to address these violations and we are actively following up these issues. We would like to commend the De-escalation and Coordination Committee (DCC) and local committees for the continuing efforts to strengthen the cessation of hostilities.

The current round of talks will focus on five points that are based on UN Security Council resolution 2216 and the agreed upon agenda that guided and the Biel Talks in December 2015.
We in the United Nations do not believe that these points have to be implemented sequentially. We have proposed that committees working in parallel to discuss implementation mechanisms in each area. The overall objective is to reach a comprehensive agreement that lays the foundations for a return to a peaceful and orderly transition based on the GCC Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism and the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference.

The proposed working plan constitutes a strong framework for a new political process that would help Yemen and Yemenis achieve stability and live in peace. Reaching a practical and positive solution undoubtedly requires concessions from all sides. These concessions will reflect their commitment and efforts to reach an inclusive agreement.

Today’s sessions were positive and promising.

At this critical juncture, it is highlight certain specific messages:
First to the Yemeni population:
Those who know me well know how much I cherish Yemen where I worked for years even before I take up my position as Special Envoy. Yemenis are the beating heart of Yemen. I am aware that the situation is critical and the conflict has been going for a long time, but I am also certain that the Yemenis will never give up. Today, we stand closer than ever to peace. Men, women, the elderly and children from North to South, I assure you that your security, stability and rights are our top priority.

Second to the participants in the talks:
You represent the Yemeni people in the talks today. Your political positions make you responsible. Consult your conscience, address discord in a positive spirit and transform disputes into differences that enrich the political life while maintaining the social fabric and civil peace.

Third to the State of Kuwait:
I would like to reiterate my gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and to the Government and people of Kuwait for this generous invitation to hold these talks and for their tremendous efforts and for facilitating these talks. I would also like to thank the international community for its continuous efforts and effective support for a settlement in Yemeni.

Fourth to the media:

You hold the torch of freedom and defense of people’s rights. You reflect the pulse of the street. I appreciate your work, sacrifice and interaction. I hope you calm the souls and continue to work professionally to convey the truth while defusing tensions. We are at a critical phase. We are looking forward to your cooperation so we work together hand in hand to put an end to violence in Yemen and advance the peace process. I have requested the delegations - and I ask you as well - to show good faith and tolerance. You are the voice of people, all the people. So be the voice of Yemen, all Yemen.

In conclusion, I reiterate today that we will scale up efforts so peace becomes the headline and the outcome of the negotiations. As I said yesterday during the opening session “Peace is a choice. Let it be yours.”