New York

30 June 2016

Note To Correspondents: Remarks by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed

Thank you for attending today’s press conference.

Over the course of more than eight weeks, the delegation of the Government of Yemen has met with the delegation representing the General People's Congress and Ansar Allah in numerous sessions during which both delegations reiterated their commitment to concluding a peace agreement, which will end the conflict in Yemen.

The participants addressed the complex, underlying issues and elaborated on their respective proposals for mechanisms that will shape the next phase such as withdrawals, security arrangements, and the hand-over of heavy and medium weapons. They held in depth discussions on issues related to the political issues facing the country, on ways to stimulate the economy and improve the humanitarian situation, and on the release of prisoners and detainees.

During the past two months, we were able to accomplish the following:

· Establish a common ground between the parties from which they can build upon

· The release of more than 700 prisoners and detainees including 50 children.

· Strengthening the Cessation of Hostilities. Reports from the ground indicate a tangible improvement in the security situation in many areas. However, other areas still suffer from violations of the Cessation of Hostilities and those violations continue to claim the lives of civilians.

· A marked improvement in the ability of the various humanitarian agencies to reach previously inaccessible areas. Statistical reports indicate that during the second quarter of 2015, the agencies were able to assist 1.5 million people. With the improvement of the security situation in 2016, the agencies expanded their operations and were able to assist more than 4.5 million Yemenis, which demonstrates that the percentage of those assisted increased threefold. These are important achievements in the midst of a conflict.

After extensive deliberations with the two delegations, I presented a road map that encompassed a number of practical proposals aimed at ending the conflict and resuming the peaceful political process. Those proposals included the security arrangements referenced in Resolution 2216 (2015) and the creation of a national unity government that would work towards the provision of essential services and re-starting the country’s economy. In accordance with the road map I proposed, the national unity government would assume the task of organizing a political dialogue that will determine the subsequent steps needed to reach a comprehensive political solution. Those steps would include the formulation of an electoral road map and elaboration of the tasks and duties of the institutions that will administer the phase. It is of the utmost importance for the political dialogue to include the active participation of women, youth, and the parties present in the south of the country. I would note here that the road map entails the creation of a local and international monitoring mechanism with the tasks of following-up, supporting, and ensuring the implementation of the agreements reached by the parties. The two delegations reacted positively to the proposed road map, however they did not reach an understanding on the sequencing of events contained in it. In order to reach understanding, we have been  compelled to enter a new phase of talks.

We have established the main principles that will guide the next phase as a result of the extensive discussions held with the participants. Those principles are based on the working papers submitted by the two delegations and on the recommendations of the specialized committees. The two delegations will use the coming period to confer with their respective leaderships and will return to Kuwait on 15 July with practical recommendations on how to implement the necessary mechanisms and thus conclude a peace accord to end the ongoing conflict.

This period will also allow me to meet with key Yemeni and regional political stakeholders to press for a comprehensive solution that will address the mechanisms discussed in the talks. A comprehensive solution will also decrease the threat of the dangers of terrorism in both Yemen and the world. I want to reiterate my belief that terrorism benefits from political instability and the lack of security to expand and threaten the lives of innocents.

After reaffirming their commitment to Resolution 2216 (2015) and the related Resolutions and statements, the outcomes of the National Dialogue Conference, and the Gulf Initiative and its implementation mechanism; before leaving the talks to confer with their leaderships, the two delegations committed themselves to the following:

(i) Reaffirm commitment to the terms and conditions of the Cessation of Hostilities, and to strengthening the mechanisms for its implementation;
(ii) Relocate the De-escalation and Coordination Committee to Dhahran al-Janoub in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to strengthen respect for the Cessation of Hostilities;
(iii) Facilitate the adoption of urgent measures for free and unhindered humanitarian access and access for essential goods;
(iv) Facilitate the urgent release of detainees in accordance with the principles proposed by the committee on detainees, which was established during the Kuwait talks;
(v) Abstain from any acts or decisions likely to undermine the prospects of finalising these negotiations;
(vi) Protect the confidentiality of the proceedings and documents associated with the negotiations; and
(vii) Co-operate with the Special Envoy in relation to any matter connected with the completion of the negotiations.
The two delegations committed themselves to those provisions by signing a commitment document addressed to the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah.
The talks are continuing and the new phase will bring the leaderships closer to the decision making process. The new phase will also enable the frank exchange of opinions between the local and regional sides that will bring us closer to a comprehensive solution which when reached will improve the political, security, economical, and humanitarian situation of the country.

I want to thank the international community for their unparalleled support and continuous efforts to ensure the success of the talks. I also want to applaud the efforts exerted by the Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League. We want to demonstrate our deep appreciation to the Emir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah for supporting the peace processes in the region. We also want to thank the government of the State of Kuwait and its people for their hospitality and extraordinary support in hosting and advancing the progress of the talks.

I also want to thank the Secretary-General of the United Nations for his recent visit to the State of Kuwait and for his continuous efforts and support.