New York

01 April 2022

Secretary-General's press encounter on a Nationwide Truce in Yemen

I commend the Government of Yemen, the Saudi-led Coalition and the Houthis for agreeing on a two-month truce in Yemen, including cross-border attacks. I urge all parties to make the necessary arrangements to support the successful implementation of the truce, and to operationalize cooperation mechanisms without delay.

I thank my Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, and his team for their tireless efforts in their pursuit of this agreement.

The parties accepted to halt all offensive military air, ground and maritime operations inside Yemen and across its borders.  They also agreed for fuel ships to enter into Hudaydah ports and commercial flights to operate in and out of Sana’a airport to predetermined destinations in the region.  They further agreed to meet under the auspices of my Special Envoy to open roads in Taiz and other governorates in Yemen. The Truce can be renewed beyond the two-month period with the consent of the parties.

This truce, which has the possibility of renewal, coincides with the start of the holy month of Ramadan. It opens the door to addressing Yemen’s urgent humanitarian and economic needs and creates a genuine opportunity to restart Yemen’s political process.

This truce must be a first step to ending Yemen’s devastating war.

A halt to the fighting, coupled with the entry of fuel ships, and the easing of restrictions on the movement of people and goods in, out and within the country, will contribute to building trust and creating a conducive environment to resume negotiations for a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

I urge the parties to build on this opportunity by cooperating in good faith and without preconditions with my Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, in his efforts to resume an inclusive and comprehensive Yemeni political process. The ultimate aim must be a negotiated political settlement which addresses the legitimate concerns and aspirations of all Yemenis.

And I thank all regional and international actors, including the members of the Security Council, for their continued support to the United Nations’ efforts to secure this agreement. Regional and international support will remain critical for the successful implementation of the truce.

For more than seven years, war has devastated the lives of millions of Yemeni women, children and men. It is difficult to imagine the extent of their suffering, which has mainly taken place far from the media spotlight. The war has fueled one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, brought state institutions to the verge of collapse, reversed human development by two decades, and threatened regional peace and security.

Today must be the start of a better future for the people of Yemen. 

Thank you.

Question:   How hopeful are you that this could become a permanent ceasefire, now that the conditions for negotiations are met?

Secretary-General:  Well, I am hopeful, because I followed closely the work of my Special Envoy in the last round of contacts.  And I saw a strong commitment by the parties.  But we know that these agreements are always fragile.  I was in Stockholm more than three years ago. And I remember how the Stockholm Agreement was difficult to implement.  So now, we must take profit of the momentum in order to make sure that this truce is fully respected and that it is renewed and, with that renewal, that a true political process is launched in Yemen.  We will do everything to make it happen and at the same time, with the renewal of the truce, the progressive development in relation to access to Yemen and inside Yemen that the people of Yemen will finally benefit from peace.

Question: In Yemen, this is great news after so many years.  But from this crisis… every war is different.  But from this crisis, which is getting a little bit better, what in other parts of the world –  thinking of Ukraine, for example – what they can learn from this to what is happening about the search for peace?

Secretary-General:  I think that this demonstrates that even when things look impossible, when there is the will to compromise, peace becomes possible.  I have witnessed many moments of hope in Yemen, followed by disappointment.  This time, I am sure that everything will be done for this peace agreement to hold. And I hope that this agreement will inspire others, in Ukraine and other parts of the world, in order to make sure that we address the dramatic conflicts that are undermining the well-being of so many people around the world.

And obviously, as you know, my Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, was asked by me to pursue a humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine.  He will be flying to Moscow on Sunday.  And after that, he will be going to Kyiv.  Which means that we don’t give up on the perspective of stopping the fighting in Yemen, in Ukraine and everywhere else in the world.  Thank you very much.

Question:  The trip of Mr. Griffiths to Moscow – does the trip to Moscow by Mr. Griffiths, does it mean that both parties are engaging with this initiative?

Secretary-General:  The Russian Federation and Ukraine have accepted to meet him in the follow-up of my announcement of his mission, aiming at a humanitarian ceasefire.