Truce Providing Serious Opportunity for Ending Yemen’s Long Conflict, Briefers Tell Security Council
One year since the parties agreed to a truce under United Nations auspices ‑ which has continued to deliver well beyond its expiration six months ago ‑ Yemen is again at a critical juncture, briefers told the Security Council today, underscoring that, in eight years, the international community has not seen such a serious opportunity for ending the conflict.
Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said that the country is experiencing the longest period of relative calm yet in this ruinous war, with food, fuel and other commercial ships flowing into Hudaydah. He pointed to the recent agreement in Switzerland ‑ under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) ‑ to release almost 900 conflict-related detainees from all sides. “The emotional scenes of the detainees being released over the last few days demonstrated the power of peaceful negotiations,” he said, noting that the release operations reunited hundreds of Yemeni families.
However, “escalation can quickly reverse hard-won gains”, unless the parties take bolder steps towards peace, he warned, stressing that Yemenis still live with unimaginable hardship every day. Voicing concern over recent military activity in Marib, Shabwa and Taiz, he called on the parties to refrain from provocative actions and continue to engage with his Office to ensure maintained de-escalation. Against this backdrop, he cited the truce as “a temporary measure” to open space for political talks to sustainably end the war. Stressing the importance of a supportive regional environment for peace efforts in Yemen, he urged for a Yemeni-owned ceasefire as “only Yemenis can debate and ultimately decide on the future political, economic and security governance” of their country.
Ghada Mudawi, Deputy Director, Operations and Advocacy Division, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, commended the continued easing of import restrictions in recent weeks which has allowed more commercial goods into the country. Also, a major milestone has been reached regarding the Safer oil tanker, she said, noting that a replacement vessel ‑ the Nautica ‑ set sail for Yemen on 6 April. Nevertheless, more than 21 million people across the country need emergency assistance, she said, sounding alarm over escalating clashes in Ma’rib and Shabwah which have displaced nearly 10,000 people since early March, while preventable diseases like measles and polio are spreading at a dangerous pace. These outbreaks could deteriorate fast ‑ especially in Houthi-controlled areas ‑ she cautioned, calling on donors to urgently scale up support.
While welcoming the renewed optimism surrounding the ongoing negotiations to find a solution to the Yemeni conflict, Council members underlined the need for an impactful humanitarian response, especially while a sizeable funding gap remains. The representative of the United Kingdom, calling on authorities across Yemen to allow unfettered humanitarian access, emphasized that the United Nations, donors and local authorities must work together to effectively address the needs of people in Yemen. Turning to the threat posed by the Safer, she warned that the costs of inaction would devastate marine life and coastal livelihoods, disrupt life-saving humanitarian assistance for 17 million people and cost the global economy billions in lost trade every day.
The representative of Ghana, speaking also on behalf of Gabon and Mozambique, stressed that only an inclusive Yemeni-owned political process will bring a lasting solution to the conflict. Notwithstanding the recent positive developments, he pointed to the incessant Houthi provocations, including military escalations in Marib and Shabwa and the targeting of senior Government of Yemen officials in Taiz. Further, he expressed concern about the persistence of Mahram requirements imposed on female humanitarian staff, which requires them to be accompanied by male guardians in areas controlled by the Houthis, and about the welfare of children, many of whom living in deplorable conditions with no access to good sanitation and water, which puts them at increased risk of malnutrition, cholera and death from common infectious diseases.
The representative of China, highlighting the need to provide enabling conditions for the political settlement of the Yemeni question, said that the humanitarian situation in the country remains dire, with acute malnutrition and more than two thirds of the population living below the poverty line. He urged for adequate funding for United Nations operations in Yemen, as well as for lifting unreasonable restrictions on that country. Moreover, it is essential to begin the crude oil transfer of the Safer vessel, he asserted, noting that the replacement tanker set sail for the Red Sea after being refitted in China.
The representative of the United Arab Emirates, expressing support for Saudi Arabia’s continuous mediation efforts and commending Oman’s efforts to achieve reconciliation, highlighted that the recent release of abductees brings new hope to the humanitarian, economic and political tracks. This step must open the possibility of releasing all prisoners, based on the “All for all” principle which was agreed upon in the Stockholm Agreement, he noted, calling on the Houthis to lift all restrictions imposed on humanitarian organizations, including those targeting women.
Rounding up the discussion, the representative of Yemen said that, while his Government continues to implement all provisions of the humanitarian truce even after its expiry, the Houthi militias chose escalation in an unprecedented manner, carrying out terrorist attacks on ports and economic facilities, and continuing to threaten the safety and security of international navigation. Today, as diplomatic momentum is building, “optimism is once again in the air in Yemen”, he declared, noting that conditions are now more conducive than ever to achieve peace. To this end, he called on States to provide support to alleviate the humanitarian suffering and overcome economic and development challenges in his country.
Also speaking today were representatives of Albania, Malta, France, Ecuador, Japan, Brazil, Switzerland, United States and the Russian Federation.
The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:39 a.m.
HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said that, one year since the parties agreed to a truce under the United Nations auspices, the country is again at a critical juncture. The truce has continued to deliver well beyond its expiration six months ago. The international community has not seen such a serious opportunity for making progress towards ending the conflict in eight years. However, “the tide could still turn unless the parties take bolder steps toward peace”. The parties have recently shown that negotiations can deliver results. In March, they agreed in Switzerland under the auspices of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to release almost 900 conflict-related detainees from all sides. They also agreed to meet again in May to make further progress on their commitment as part of the Stockholm Agreement to release all conflict-related detainees. Moreover, they agreed to undertake joint visits to each other’s detention facilities, including in Marib and Sana’a.
The release operations reunited hundreds of Yemeni families with their loved ones, renewing the hopes of many more Yemenis that their relatives, too, may soon be released. “The emotional scenes of the detainees being released over the last few days demonstrated the power of peaceful negotiations,” he said. Another encouraging sign is that many aspects of the truce continue to be implemented beyond its lifespan. Yemen is experiencing the longest period of relative calm yet in this ruinous war, he said, adding that food, fuel and other commercial ships continue to flow into Hudaydah and commercial flights continue between Sana’a International Airport and Amman.
However, this is not enough, he cautioned, stressing that Yemenis still live with unimaginable hardship every day. In this context, recent developments are a reminder that “escalation can quickly reverse hard-won gains”. He expressed concern about recent military activity in Marib, Shabwa, Taiz and other governorates, recalling that in the past, escalation — particularly in Marib — has spilled over to front lines elsewhere. Against this backdrop, he called on the parties to exercise maximum restraint, refrain from provocative actions and continue to engage with his Office to ensure maintained de-escalation. The truce ‑ while an important achievement ‑ was meant to be a temporary measure to open space for political talks to sustainably end the war, he said, noting that it cannot be relied on to deliver a peaceful future to Yemen.
He engaged with the parties to identify next steps towards a permanent ceasefire and the reactivation of a political process under United Nations auspices. Further, he has engaged with them on measures that can alleviate the economic and humanitarian situation in the country. Building on the achievements of the truce, representatives of Saudi Arabia and Oman have recently been in Sana’a, where they have engaged in constructive dialogue. Representatives from Saudi Arabia have also held productive discussions with members of the Presidential Leadership Council in Riyadh. A supportive regional environment will reinforce peace efforts in Yemen, he asserted.
He emphasized that any new agreement in Yemen must be a clear step towards a Yemeni-led political process. As such, it needs to include a strong commitment from the parties to meet and negotiate in good faith with one another. The political process needs to orient towards the future that so many Yemeni women and men have told us they want: “One of accountable governance, equal citizenship, and social and economic justice.” Accordingly, he urged for a Yemeni-owned ceasefire that durably stops the violence, ensures the safety and security of Yemenis and builds trust for a political process. Moreover, the parties must refrain from using economic measures as tools of hostility, and instead, create the conditions to allow people and businesses to work unimpeded.
He also called for greater freedom of movement of people and goods across all of Yemen, as well as the full opening of Sana’a airport. As part of the work on military and security issues, his Office continues to engage with the delegates of the parties to the Military Coordination Committee. On the economic work, he continues to engage the parties, civil society organizations, experts and researchers, the private sector and international financial institutions. All this needs to be rooted in the work towards an inclusive, intra-Yemeni political process, as “only Yemenis can debate and ultimately decide on the future political, economic and security governance of Yemen”.
GHADA MUDAWI, Deputy Director, Operations and Advocacy Division, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, noting the expiry of the truce in Yemen, which provided precious relief after many years of war, called on the international community to seize the unprecedented opportunity to make more progress towards peace. Noting that the continued easing of import restrictions in recent weeks has allowed more commercial goods into the country, she added that, in March, the United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism cleared 41 ships bound for the Red Sea ports, carrying 825,000 metric tons of commercial food, fuel and other goods. Turning to the Safer oil tanker, she said that in a major milestone for the United Nations-coordinated operation to address the threat posed by the ship, a replacement vessel ‑ the Nautica ‑ set sail for Yemen on 6 April. It is expected to arrive in the Red Sea area in the first half of May. Efforts are ongoing to mobilize the additional funding needed for the project, she said, pointing to a donor conference to be held on 4 May, hosted by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Also highlighting a $20 million loan, made available from the Central Emergency Response Fund to enable the start of the on-water operation in May, she said: “These positive developments come not a moment too soon for the people of Yemen.” Across the country, more than 21 million people need emergency assistance, she said, noting that while there has not been a major resurgence in fighting, escalating clashes in Marib and Shabwah have displaced nearly 10,000 people since early March, while preventable diseases like measles and polio are spreading at a dangerous pace. Expressing concern that these outbreaks could deteriorate fast, especially in Houthi-controlled areas, she said that aid agencies are doing everything they can to respond. Urging donors to quickly disburse commitments made at the pledging event in February and to urgently scale up support, she also pointed to the challenging operating environment in Yemen. United Nations agencies are opening an office in Taiz and conducting missions to remote locations across the country, against the backdrop of large and chronic access impediments, she said.
Highlighting the large number of access constraints, mostly in Houthi‑controlled areas, she said they cause undue delays to critical missions and impede the timely delivery of aid. One area where little progress has been made is on the issue of movement restrictions for Yemeni female aid workers in Houthi-controlled areas, she said, stressing that “all of our staff, including female staff, are essential to humanitarian operations”. Reiterating the call to the parties to the conflict, especially the Houthi de facto authorities, to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law, she noted that, in Sana’a, two United Nations staff remain detained since November 2021, and that five staff members abducted in Abyan in 2022 year remain missing. Further, much more must be done to stabilize Yemen’s economy, such as strengthening people’s incomes, scaling up demining efforts and restoring basic services.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), welcoming ongoing efforts to advance peace in Yemen, underscored that inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni political talks, under the auspices of the United Nations, are the vital next step. She called on the parties to refrain from provocation, noting that the recent clashes in Marib and Shabwa had significant humanitarian consequences, displacing 10,000 people. The need for an impactful humanitarian response remains critical, especially while a sizeable funding gap remains, she emphasized, calling for greater ambition in addressing the recommendations in the Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation. Authorities across Yemen must allow unfettered humanitarian access, she urged, joining Deputy Director Mudawi’s call for the immediate end to impediments to independent assessment and monitoring, fair selection of service providers, and free movement of national female aid workers in the north. The United Nations, donors and local authorities need to step up and work together to effectively address the needs of people in Yemen. Turning to the threat posed by the Safer, she warned that the costs of inaction would devastate marine life and coastal livelihoods, disrupt life-saving humanitarian assistance for 17 million people and cost the global economy billions in lost trade every day. On 4 May, the United Kingdom is co-hosting a pledging conference with the Netherlands and in partnership with the United Nations to fill the shortfall and provide a long-term solution for Yemen.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), speaking also on behalf of Gabon and Mozambique, welcomed the renewed optimism surrounding the ongoing negotiations to find a solution to the Yemeni conflict. However, sustainable solutions to the conflict lie firmly in the hands of the Yemeni people, he asserted, calling for an inclusive Yemeni-owned political process that will bring a lasting solution to the conflict. In this context, he commended the release of nearly 900 conflict-related detainees in April as part of the implementation of an agreement reached by the parties in Geneva in March. A lasting peace in Yemen requires the pursuit of an inclusive political process that considers all segments of the population, including women. Notwithstanding the recent positive developments, he voiced concern over the incessant Houthi provocations, including military escalations in Marib and Shabwa and the targeting of senior Government of Yemen officials in Taiz.
Stressing the need to preserve the fragile security situation in the country, he called for increased international support to bridge the funding gap needed to effectively address the humanitarian crisis facing the Yemeni people. Imposition of administrative and bureaucratic bottlenecks on the operations of humanitarian agencies affect delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to segments of the Yemeni society, he observed, expressing particular concern about the persistence of Maharam obligation imposed on female humanitarian staff, which requires them to be accompanied by male guardians in areas controlled by the Houthis. With the prospects of peace on the horizon, Yemen’s weak economy must be supported to create viable opportunities to improve the socioeconomic condition and reduce the country’s dependence on external humanitarian support. The risk posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war in Yemen must be tackled head-on to bring down the number of casualties associated with the menace. Furthermore, the general welfare of children, who have been overwhelmingly affected by the war, must be given special attention, he underlined, noting that many children still live in deplorable conditions with no access to good sanitation and water, which puts them at increased risk of malnutrition, cholera and death from common infectious diseases.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania), recalling how the truce in 2022, from April to October, brought about a drastic reduction in violence and opened a window of hope, said that, while it was not renewed, every step counts. Stressing the importance of preserving hard-won gains, he noted the resumption of flights to and from Sana’a, increased port activity and exchange of prisoners. These positive developments help establish confidence between parties, he noted, welcoming the fact that all parties have come to accept that peace, however difficult, is the best alternative to war. Also welcoming the talks in Sana’a, he commended the role played by Saudi Arabia and Oman, and called on the Houthis to engage in good faith. An inclusive settlement must include the participation of all factions of Yemeni civil society, he said, calling on the Council to continue its support for that process. The scars of nearly a decade of war are visible in the humanitarian crisis, he said, adding that too many are dying in the war while far more are dying because of the war.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) said that the agreement of Yemen’s warring sides to a military truce marked a significant moment of hope and granted critical respite to Yemeni civilians suffering the horrors of war. Ever after the truce lapsed, critical tenets have continued to hold, bringing relative calm across Yemen, she observed, calling on parties to refrain from any escalations and engage in genuine dialogue towards a permanent ceasefire. Meanwhile, the humanitarian situation continues to be devastating for the country’s civilian population, she cautioned, adding that humanitarian access remains hampered by bureaucratic restrictions, threatening the lives of millions of Yemenis in need of urgent aid. This includes the delivery of vaccines, particularly to children, to ensure against sickness or death from preventable diseases like measles and polio. Furthermore, the Mahram requirements imposed by the Houthis restrict the freedom of movement of Yemeni women and girls, as well as women humanitarian actors. On a positive note, she commended the release of nearly 900 conflict-related detainees over the weekend, expressing hope that parties fulfil their commitment to the Stockholm Agreement to release all conflict-related detainees and those arbitrarily detained. Malta is also pleased to see further developments on the United Nations-coordinated operation for the Safer oil tanker, she said. Voicing concerns over mines and explosive remnants of war, which remain one of the leading causes of civilian death in Yemen, in particular among children, she called on parties to stop the use of these indiscriminate weapons and support urgent demining efforts.
ALEXANDRE OLMEDO (France), welcoming the current positive progress and the establishment of trust between the parties, called on the Council to remain vigilant. It is necessary to transform the truce into a lasting cessation of hostilities, he said, calling on the Houthis to conduct themselves responsibly. Expressing support for the United Nations mechanisms that are facilitating confidence-building, he applauded the mobilization efforts of Saudi Arabia and Oman, as well as other regional actors. Also commending the Special Envoy’s efforts to secure a peace plan, he said the interests of all Yemeni people must be considered. Also calling for the full, equal, meaningful and effective participation of Yemeni women in political negotiations, he added that only a lasting political settlement can facilitate tangible improvements in the economic situation in Yemen as well as mitigate the humanitarian crisis. Reiterating concern about the deterioration of work and safety conditions for humanitarian personnel, he called for an end to the imposition of male guardianship obligations on female humanitarian workers.
MONICA SOLEDAD SANCHEZ IZQUIERDO (Ecuador) said renewed momentum at the domestic, regional and international level has revived hopes of reaching a comprehensive agreement with a commitment to democracy, good governance and reconciliation. The release of 900 political prisoners is one of the tangible results stemming from the dialogue process, she observed, expressing hope that more people deprived of their liberty will be released. She echoed the appeal made to eliminate impediments hindering humanitarian access in line with international law. The situation is fragile and significant risks persist, she stressed, calling on all actors to work together to end the hostilities. She also urged for an inclusive political transition to dealing with humanitarian assistance needs, reducing security threats and creating strong State institutions that will make it possible to reactivate the economy, investment and development. To this end, the full participation of women is crucial, she noted. She welcomed the fact that the situation of the Safer tanker has been resolved. Regarding effective access of humanitarian assistance, she said that the primary motivation for reaching a lasting peace agreement is the 21.6 million Yemeni people depending on humanitarian assistance to survive.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan) said the ongoing engagement by the parties to the conflict and the regional countries can help build confidence and pave the way to a meaningful dialogue towards a lasting peace in Yemen. Condemning the Houthis’ military escalation, she underscored that that there is no military solution in Yemen. The role of the Special Envoy is indispensable in achieving a durable ceasefire and a comprehensive and inclusive political solution to the conflict, she underscored, stressing that, in any such solution, ownership by the Yemeni people is crucial. Despite today’s promising updates, the humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains, she pointed out, calling for unhindered access for humanitarian assistance operations to aid people in need. Further, without solving the problem of landmines, the lives of people in Yemen continue to be threatened. Noting that Yemen’s Government is implementing the needed structural reforms to strengthen economic institutions, she underscored that establishing resilient institutions is vital to achieve long-term economic stability in the country. Japan continues to make diplomatic efforts and provide humanitarian assistance and capacity-building support to realize peace and stability in Yemen.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), noting the positive developments in the region, including the resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran, congratulated China for its successful efforts in mediating the agreement. Noting the recent military escalation in the provinces of Shabwa and Marib, he called upon all parties, particularly the Houthis, to exercise restraint and commit to de-escalation to prevent a return to the tragedy of full-blown war. Lasting peace in Yemen can only be achieved through dialogue and compromise rather than through force, he underscored, calling once again for a ceasefire agreement in Yemen. The road to reconciliation must also involve a comprehensive plan for economic reconstruction, which should entail rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, promoting local industries, and ensuring that all Yemenis have access to basic services and opportunities for a better life. The international community is crucial in supporting these efforts and providing the necessary resources and expertise to help the country tackle its challenges and achieve sustainable growth and development. Voicing concern about the protracted humanitarian crisis in Yemen, he said international cooperation is needed to help build resilient agricultural systems that can support long-term food security and provide the foundation for the country’s development.
GENG SHUANG (China), expressing support for the Special Envoy’s efforts to promote peace talks, called on all parties in Yemen to prioritize the interests of its people by making decisive political decisions and meeting each other halfway. Welcoming the exchange of detainees between the Yemen Government and the Houthis, he said that he hoped that the two sides will steadily push forward the follow-up work and inject positive energy into the political process. Noting that lately the security situation in Yemen has become more fraught, he expressed concern over the escalation of military operations in Marib and Taiz. Calling on all parties to the conflict to exercise calm and restraint and avoid taking provocative actions that undermine mutual trust, he said it is essential to prevent further deterioration and provide enabling conditions for the political settlement of the Yemeni question. Underscoring that the humanitarian situation in Yemen remains dire, he added that malnutrition is acute, with more than two thirds of the population living below the poverty line. The international community must step up humanitarian and development assistance to Yemen and provide adequate funding for United Nations operations in that country. It is also necessary to lift unreasonable restrictions on Yemen, he said, noting that it is essential to begin the crude oil transfer of the Safer tanker. The replacement tanker set sail for the Red Sea after being refitted in China, he pointed out, expressing the hope that the related budget funds will be in place as soon as possible.
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) welcomed the prisoner exchange negotiated in her country, which she described as not only an important confidence-building measure between the parties to the conflict but also a sign of renewed optimism for hundreds of families in Yemen. “It is impossible to get tired of the images […] of a father holding his son or a brother seeing his family again after more than five years,” she said. Against this backdrop, the peace talks in Sana’a are a positive milestone that should pave the way for the achievement of an inclusive political settlement under the aegis of the United Nations. However, there is still a long way to go to resolve the conflict in Yemen, she stressed, urging the parties to quickly find concrete solutions that will benefit the entire population. She condemned the excessive restrictions faced by humanitarian actors, including women, calling on all parties to facilitate the unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in need. She also expressed concern about the recent escalation of violence, particularly in Marib and Shabwa, and urged the parties to remain restrained. The truce agreed a year ago has strengthened the protection of civilians. However, efforts must be made to ensure that those responsible for all violations of international humanitarian law are prosecuted and held accountable. She welcomed the progress in the implementation of the Safer rescue plan and in particular the fact that the replacement vessel Nautica has set sail for the Red Sea. While this is a key step, $29 million is still needed to complete the first phase of the operation, she observed.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates), expressing support for Saudi Arabia’s continuous mediation efforts, welcomed the sincere efforts of Oman to achieve reconciliation. The success of these efforts must lead to a new phase of peace and prosperity in that country. Welcoming the recent release of abductees, which brings new hope to the humanitarian, economic and political tracks, he added that this step must open the possibility of releasing all prisoners, based on the “All for all” principle which was agreed upon in the Stockholm Agreement. Commending the efforts of the Special Envoy and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to bring about this, he expressed appreciation for Saudi Arabia’s initiative for the unilateral release of 104 Houthi prisoners. Stressing the importance of developing a peace road map that will launch a national dialogue under the auspices of the Organization, he said it is vital to prioritize the needs of the Yemeni people. As a year of relative calm in Yemen passes, his country will support regional and international efforts to find a solution to the crisis in that country. Calling for a greater focus on the humanitarian crisis, he called on the Houthis to lift all restrictions imposed on humanitarian organizations, including those targeting women.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States) said the truce laid the foundation for renewed peace efforts while delivering tangible benefits to the Yemeni people, saving thousands of lives. The terms of the truce have largely continued to hold, he observed, welcoming significant efforts towards peace in Yemen, including the visit of Saudi Arabian and Omani delegations to Sana’a as well as the Government of Yemen’s public commitment to take additional steps to achieve peace. He also commended the release of 900 prisoners from all sides of the conflict. These developments are important steps forward, building on the progress and intensive negotiations of the past year. Against this backdrop, he called on parties to reach a new, more comprehensive agreement that will pave the way for a Yemeni political process. This is the only way to resolve the conflict, the humanitarian crisis and economic strain in a durable way, he underscored. Welcoming recent efforts promoting regional de-escalation, he stressed that “only Yemenis can bring lasting peace to Yemen”. As such, supporting United Nations efforts is essential to bringing the Yemeni parties together in an inclusive process. In this context, “restraint is more important than ever”, he asserted, sounding alarm over the country’s dire humanitarian situation. Further, he called on the Houthis to release the Yemeni staff of the United States Embassy who have been forcibly detained for 18 months.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), Council President for April, speaking in his national capacity, noted that “we are bearing witness to a turning point for this long-suffering country.” All the parties are clearly striving to avoid another large-scale escalation and are genuinely interested in normalization. Nonetheless, he added, this is a slow and fragile process, and it is essential that the parties must be willing to engage in reciprocal concessions. All influential political stakeholders in the country must maintain a constructive position. Turning to the progress in exchange of prisoners, he welcomed what was achieved by the Special Envoy in late March and urged the Yemeni stakeholders to step up negotiations to continue to resolve issues relating to forcibly detained persons. Meaningful progress in this direction is needed to facilitate confidence-building, he said. Highlighting the shared goal of a long-term comprehensive settlement to the long-standing problems in Yemen, which have spilled over into neighbouring States, he said: “We continue to be discouraged by the persistent fixation of a number of Security Council colleagues upon the need to renew the export of Yemeni oil.” Now is not the time to advance national agendas despite the desire of some parties to continue to exploit the country's resources, he added, highlighting his country’s blueprint to create a system for collective security in the Persian Gulf region.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said that all hopes of the previously negotiated truce were dashed when the Houthi militias refused to extend the truce in October 2022. Yemen’s Government continues to implement all provisions of the humanitarian truce even after its expiry. Meanwhile, the Houthi militias chose escalation in an unprecedented manner, carrying out terrorist attacks on ports and economic facilities and continuing to threaten the safety and security of international navigation. Today, as diplomatic momentum is building up, “optimism is once again in the air in Yemen”, he observed, adding that conditions are now more conducive than ever to achieve peace. It is another opportunity to test how serious the Houthi militias are in achieving peace and ending the humanitarian crisis that they caused. Commending the continued efforts by Saudi Arabia to alleviate the humanitarian suffering and revive the peace process, he stressed that any initiative must be based on a comprehensive assessment of the conflict in Yemen, addressing its main causes and repercussions on the political, economic, social and humanitarian fields.
“We must break the cycle of violence,” he asserted, reiterating the commitment of his Government to ending the suffering of the Yemeni people. He sounded alarm over the blatant disregard by Houthi militias for efforts to increase the conflict. In this context, he pointed to the Houthi military escalation and terrorist attack on 25 March. Houthi militias continue to violate international human rights law and international humanitarian law daily. The capacities of Yemen’s Government are depleted, he cautioned, adding that the economy has contracted by 50 per cent as a result of the war. The ongoing terrorist attacks by Houthi militias on ports and oil facilities cost the country $1 billion. Against this backdrop, he called on all parties to provide support to Yemen’s Government to alleviate the humanitarian suffering, overcome all economic and development challenges and bolster public resources. He also stressed that the issue of detainees should remain a priority for the United Nations.