Despite Ongoing Challenges, Parties to Yemen Conflict Showing Willingness to Make Progress on Ceasefire, Political Talks, Top Official Tells Security Council
Despite a fragile military situation and dire economic and humanitarian challenges, the truce in Yemen continues to deliver beyond its expiration and parties to the conflict are demonstrating willingness to engage constructively, the United Nations top official for that country told the Security Council today, underscoring the need for a more comprehensive agreement and continued support from a coherent, coordinated regional and international community.
Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, informed the 15-nation organ that there is a clear demonstration on all sides to make progress towards a deal on humanitarian and economic measures, a permanent ceasefire and the resumption of a Yemeni-led political process. More than one year after its announcement and seven months after its official expiration, the truce continues to deliver. Yemenis are benefiting from commercial flights; fuel and commercial ships are entering via Hudaydah port; and hostility levels are significantly lower.
However, continuing reports of violence across the frontlines highlight the need for a formal ceasefire. The lack of cooperation between parties on critical financial issues means that the country’s challenges will worsen. Nevertheless, there is room for cautious optimism, he said, calling on parties to continue to work with him. Only an inclusive and comprehensive political process can bring the promise of a secure, economically stable future. In that vein, inclusivity will be key for ensuring the sustainability of any political solution, as will the meaningful participation and representation of women and youth, he said.
Edem Wosornu, Director of Operations and Advocacy, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, also reported that at long last there is hope. Urging parties to seize this opportunity, she said that across the country, Yemenis are hoping for food on the table, a roof over their heads and the ability for their children to go to school and play outside without the fear of injury from landmines. Unfortunately, while aid agencies have been able to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 11 million people each month, these efforts have been limited by chronic access impediments and the ongoing Mahram restrictions on Yemeni female aid workers.
Highlighting the need for additional funding, she noted that the appeal for Yemen remains 80 per cent unfunded and mine-action investments must be scaled up. Even with the $8 million raised during the Netherlands and the United Kingdom’s recent pledging event, the Safer tanker operation requires more funding. Nonetheless, the operation is expected to begin before the end of the month, which is good news. It is time for the parties — with the support of the international community — to drive resolutely towards the conflict’s end, she asserted, underlining: “Hope dies in the absence of action.”
Yasmeen Al-Eryani, Co-Executive Director for Knowledge Production of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, stressed that it is time for the guns to fall silent and for Yemeni voices to be heard. A hasty peace deal, however, will not end the conflict or improve regional stability, especially since justice must never be traded for security. As such, a peace process must grant the Yemeni people a fair share of national wealth and power while providing equal opportunities. More so, the international community must protect women’s rights; play a leading role in Yemen’s economic revitalization; and introduce environmental protection and climate change programmes.
In the ensuing debate, Council members reaffirmed the importance of an inclusive, Yemeni-led political process as they offered suggestions alongside their encouragement while sounding the alarm over the humanitarian situation.
The representative of Brazil, underlining that Yemen is at a pivotal moment, said that the ongoing conversations with parties exemplify the power of diplomacy. A ceasefire agreement must not be a mere document; it must translate into tangible benefits for all Yemenis, he insisted, noting that this would include more flights to and from Sana’a airport, the resumption of oil exports and the opening of key roads in Ta’iz and other governates.
China’s delegate urged all parties to maintain the current momentum, set reasonable expectations and arrive at mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues. They must put the interest of the people first by abandoning military means and actively cooperate with the Special Envoy to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire, he emphasized, adding that the political settlement of the Yemeni issue cannot be separated from regional dynamics.
The representative of Ghana, speaking also for Gabon and Mozambique, cautioned that any attempts to reverse progress will be counterproductive. Since a Yemeni-owned and led political process lies at the heart of a sustainable resolution to its crises, the international community must provide the necessary support to enhance trust and consolidate gains. To that end, the Special Envoy should ensure that Omani-facilitated talks feed into the Organization’s mediation efforts and the Council must continue to demonstrate a unified voice.
France’s representative pointed out that the hope for a lasting ceasefire should not overshadow the gravity of the humanitarian situation. The Yemeni people still need aid, food and public services, and humanitarian actors’ working and security conditions continue to deteriorate, she underlined. She called on the Houthis to end their restrictions and urged Member States and the private sector to redouble their efforts on funding for the Safer rescue plan.
Yemen’s representative, reaffirming his Government’s commitment to the choice of peace, however spotlighted several Houthi actions — including its military camps to recruit children — to demonstrate their lack of serious engagement. In light of this, the international community must live up to their commitments by putting more pressure on the Houthis to choose peace. To further reduce suffering, all friendly countries, donors and international organizations should provide development, humanitarian and economic assistance. “The Yemeni people [are] longing for peace and for a future of security, stability and development — they do not want further suffering, conflict, drones, ballistic missiles and mines,” he stated.
The meeting began at 10:03 a.m. and ended at 11:41 a.m.
HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said he was encouraged by his positive and detailed discussions with Yemeni parties and regional interlocutors. They all have demonstrated an understanding of what is at stake while displaying a willingness to engage constructively. There is a clear determination on all sides to make progress towards a deal on humanitarian and economic measures, a permanent ceasefire and the resumption of a Yemeni-led political process under United Nations auspices. Issues that require further discussion can be resolved through sustained determination from Yemeni parties and support by a coherent, coordinated regional and international community, he emphasized.
More than one year after its announcement and seven months since its official expiration, the truce continues to deliver, he continued. Yemenis are benefiting from commercial flights to and from Sana’a airport and fuel and other commercial ships are entering via Hudaydah port. Although sporadic military incidents continue to occur, the levels of hostilities are significantly lower than before the truce. Yet, the fragility of the military situation, the dire state of the economy and the daily challenges facing the Yemeni people serve as constant reminders why a more comprehensive agreement is so vital.
Continuing reports of violence across frontlines — notably in Al Jawf, Ta’iz, Ma’rib and Sa’ada — underscore the need for a formal ceasefire, he noted. Voicing his concern over a deteriorating economic situation, as well as restrictions on the freedom of movement and its subsequent impact on economic activity, he said that Yemen’s inability to export oil — which generated more than half of total revenues last year — is straining the Government’s capacity to meet its obligations. Inconsistent financial and economic policies in different areas of the country have hit citizens and businesses hard, with businesses facing particular uncertainty in Sana’a and the surrounding governorates. Lack of cooperation between the parties on critical monetary and financial issues means these challenges will worsen and potentially become more entrenched.
Despite these challenges, there is room for cautious optimism, he noted, highlighting recent additional positive steps which included the release of 887 detainees — four of whom were journalists. While every release is positive news, there are still thousands more who remain detained. He called on parties to continue to work with him in fulfilling their commitments to release all conflict-related detainees. All parties must also comply with their obligations under international law to immediately release all those who remain in arbitrary detention, including journalists, human rights defenders, political opponents and other civilians.
There must be a resumption of a Yemeni-led political process under the United Nations in order to move forward towards an agreement, he stressed, emphasizing that Yemen’s difficulties and challenges cannot be addressed through partial or temporary solutions. Only an inclusive and comprehensive political process can forge a new political partnership and bring the promise of a secure, economically stable future. Inclusivity will also be key for ensuring the sustainability of any political solution, especially since the recent dialogue among a number of southern political groups in Aden has underlined — once again — the urgent need for Yemenis to collectively define their own future. Equally essential is the meaningful participation and representation of women and youth in all aspects of the peace process. Such participation is not only about the number of female and civil society participants but also about providing a safe space for them to address their priorities and contribute with their perspectives and expertise, he pointed out.
EDEM WOSORNU, Director of Operations and Advocacy, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, reported that at long last there is hope that the terrible war in Yemen could end and that a sustainable peace agreement is possible. Urging the parties to seize this opportunity, she also noted that across the country, Yemenis are hoping for other things: food on the table, a roof over their heads, and the ability for their children to go to school or play outside without the fear of injury by landmines. For millions of people, access to basic services, safety and security remain devastatingly out of reach.
Against this backdrop, she said that aid agencies, in collaboration with international non-governmental organizations and local Yemeni organizations, have provided humanitarian assistance to more than 11 million people each month. In the first quarter of 2023, food aid was provided to nearly 10 million people per month, while almost 1 million have benefited from better access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene support. However, these efforts were limited by chronic access impediments, primarily in areas controlled by the Houthi de facto authorities. Further, ongoing restrictions on the movement of Yemeni female aid workers have severely disrupted the ability of agencies to operate and to reach those in need, particularly women and girls.
Ongoing bureaucratic and administrative constraints have also slowed and hampered operations both in Houthi- and Government-controlled areas, she continued, outlining ongoing efforts to improve the operational environment, including by the Emergency Directors’ Group, a team of senior United Nations and other leaders, which concluded its mission to Yemen earlier this month. She said she hoped that their frank yet constructive discussions with the de facto authorities and the Government of Yemen will facilitate a positive shift on access.
Turning to the shortfall in funding, she pointed out that, five months into the year, 80 per cent of the appeal for the country remained unfunded. In particular, the appeal for support for migrants and refugees has received very little funding, although those needs are severe. In addition, more funding is needed for the United Nations-coordinated Safer tanker operation, she said, welcoming that $8 million was raised during the 4 May pledging event hosted by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The operation is expected to begin before the end of the month, which is good news.
However, she called for a future where urgent humanitarian needs are reduced. To this end, the humanitarian community is supporting efforts through investments in mine action — which needs to be scaled-up, as explosive remnants continue to kill and maim civilians — and support for displaced communities and returnees to help restart their lives. “Hope is important, as it contains the promise of a better future and inspires us to pursue the path towards it,” she said. “But hope dies in the absence of action.” Therefore, it is time for the parties, with the support of the international community, to drive resolutely towards peace and an end to the conflict.
YASMEEN AL-ERYANI, Co-Executive Director for Knowledge Production of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, stressed that it is time for the guns to fall silent and for the voices of the Yemeni people to be heard. The conflict has destroyed people’s lives on every front. However, women, youth and all other segments of society can rebuild the country and shape its future, she said, spotlighting the international responsibility of steering the country out of the crisis and ensuring its regional reintegration. Recognizing the importance of the ongoing talks between Saudi Arabia and the Houthi group, she also said that a hasty peace deal will not end the conflict or improve regional stability. Welcoming the recent prisoner exchange and its humanitarian impact, she pointed out that thousands of detainees are still waiting to be released. “Justice must never be traded for security. By doing so, we risk losing both,” she said.
She went on to note that the country has experienced decades of recurrent violence caused by incomplete and unjust settlements. A peace process is needed that would grant the people a fair share of national wealth and power, while providing equal opportunities for marginalized groups, religious minorities and the most vulnerable. She also urged the international community to protect women’s rights, including their participation in the labour market and in the revitalization of the economy, while also ensuring their engagement in decision-making. In that regard, she expressed disappointment about the international actors’ passive stance towards discrimination of women with policies aiming to reshape the society and erase women from public life.
Recognizing the importance of putting economic priorities at the centre of the peace process, she said the major driver of Yemen’s conflict is unjust resource distribution. The competition over scarce resources is intensifying, as the warring parties have found new ways of extracting money from the people through extortionate taxes. The international community and the Gulf States should play a leading role in Yemen’s economic revitalization through investment and sustainable programmes, while also preparing the country for economic integration in the regional and global financial systems and facilitating its access to neighbouring countries’ labour markets.
Ecological justice has also been neglected for decades, she continued, pointing to the environmental threat posed by the Safer. Noting that oil companies continue to operate with impunity, threatening the environment, she recalled that Yemen has also become vulnerable to climate change. Floods, cyclones and droughts have affected the citizen’s livelihoods, leading to repeated displacement, while the country remained outside of global environmental justice discussions with a limited access to climate adaptation funds. In this regard, she called for environmental protection and climate change adaptation programmes to be introduced to revitalize Yemen’s fisheries, agriculture and apiculture sectors.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), highlighting recent progress on the Safer, stressed: “None of us here want to be fundraising for the $20 billion required to clear up if we are unable to avert a catastrophic spill”. To that end, she called for contributions to resolve this “ticking time bomb” for the environment and to facilitate global trade, millions of local livelihoods and the delivery of life-saving aid in Yemen. Turning to the positive work by all parties in building on the truce-like conditions over the past year, she urged them to continue their constructive, good-faith and creative engagement in the spirit of compromise. Such efforts should focus on providing Yemenis access to all sources of revenue. Since an inclusive peace process under the Organization’s auspices is the only path to end the war, she expressed hope that the Council can continue to demonstrate unity. Yet, despite Yemen’s relative peace, 21.6 million people — two thirds of the population — remain in dire humanitarian need. Impediments to the free movement of women, independent monitoring and assessment and the fair selection of service providers pose additional burdens on humanitarian efforts and, ultimately, the people of Yemen, she pointed out.
GENG SHUANG (China) said that parties to the conflict should maintain the current momentum, set reasonable expectations and arrive at mutually acceptable solutions to outstanding issues. The security situation in Yemen has eased; however, as sporadic exchanges of fire still cause civilian casualties, he urged all parties in Yemen to put the interest of people first by abandoning military means and actively cooperating with the Special Envoy’s work to achieve a comprehensive ceasefire. Sounding alarm over the dire humanitarian situation, he called on the international community to increase humanitarian and development investment in Yemen. Moreover, unreasonable restrictions on humanitarian operations must be lifted immediately. He added that political settlement of the Yemeni issue cannot be separated from regional dynamics.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), speaking also for Gabon and Mozambique, cautioned that any attempts to reverse the marginal progress made will be counterproductive. A Yemeni-owned and led political process lies at the heart of a sustainable resolution to its crises and the international community must provide support that enhances the necessary trust to consolidate gains. As well, the Special Envoy should work closely with regional and Yemeni stakeholders to ensure that the Omani-facilitated talks feed into the Organization’s mediation efforts. Leveraging the release plan achieved between the Government and the Houthis is important. Parties should continue their efforts for further releases — a symbolic gesture that can enhance confidence-building. All parties must deepen their commitment to sustain a formal and nationwide ceasefire; afford the people of Yemen the opportunity to ultimately own their political future; and prioritize inclusivity by harnessing the potential of women in the political process.
However, despite the modest gains made, he said he remained concerned by persisting challenges, including the closure of the roads leading to Ta’iz, the payment of public employees in Houthi-controlled territory and the humanitarian situation. Challenges which undermine relief efforts — including access restraints and interferences — must be urgently tackled, he stressed, calling on all parties to facilitate the safe, rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief to all civilians in need while protecting humanitarian personnel and assets. Regarding the enforcement of Mahram requirements, he again called on the Houthis to respect their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. Further, effective international and local collaboration is needed to urgently address the risk posed by landmines and explosive remnants. He also appealed to the international community to dovetail its support for Yemen’s economy and encouraged all parties to cooperate with the United Nations on the safe and quick transfer of oil from the Safer. “The continuous demonstration of a united voice by this Council towards the resolution of the crises in Yemen remains paramount and should be guarded jealousy to consolidate the gains made,” he emphasized.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), noting that Yemen is at pivotal moment, said that the ongoing conversations with the parties involved — coupled with Saudi-Houthi talks facilitated by Oman — exemplify the power of diplomacy. Echoing the Special Envoy, he underscored that any ceasefire agreement must not merely be a document but should translate into tangible benefits for all Yemenis. This includes more destinations and flights to and from Sana’a airport; the resumption of the country’s oil exports; and the opening of key roads in Ta’iz and other governorates. Even in the absence of large-scale hostilities, the situation in Yemen remains one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, with two thirds of the Yemeni population in need of assistance. Against this backdrop, he urged all relevant authorities to ensure freedom of movement and access to all humanitarian agents on the ground. Regarding the urgent task of salvaging the Safer oil tanker, he stressed that this is not just about preventing an environmental catastrophe but about averting a crisis that could compound the already severe humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
LANA ZAKI NUSSEIBEH (United Arab Emirates) welcomed recent positive signs, including the relaunching of an inclusive Yemeni-owned and led political process, prisoner exchanges and the maintenance of relative calm for more than a year. However, additional confidence-building measures are needed along with a permanent ceasefire agreement. She commended the diplomatic efforts of Saudi Arabia and the recent visit to Yemen of delegations from that country and Oman. The constructive engagement of Yemeni presidential leadership in the political process is also commendable, she said, calling on the Houthis to seize the opportunity to engage constructively. A belligerent stance is unacceptable and detrimental to the welfare of the Yemeni people. Turning to the severe humanitarian and economic crises, she called for steps to be taken for unimpeded aid delivery, including the reopening of major roads, economic support, and the lifting of Houthi-imposed restrictions on humanitarian agencies, particularly on female aid workers. Further, Yemeni children must have access to quality education, rather than being coerced into joining Houthi summer camps and centres, she said, adding that the group exploits such programmes to indoctrinate children with an extremist ideology.
ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) encouraged the parties to continue dialogue and engage in the peace process, also welcoming talks between Saudi Arabia, Oman and the Houthis as a means to move forward on the political track. The Houthis must cease their attacks and engage in negotiations, while ensuring full participation for women and youth. Welcoming the longest period of calm in Yemen since the truce agreement, she underscored the importance of a nation-wide ceasefire. She also outlined efforts by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to provide a lifeline to women and children and fight gender-based violence, spotlighting the engagement of local female humanitarian workers and condemning actions that endanger their lives. On that point, she called for facilitating humanitarian-relief distribution and protecting humanitarian personnel, condemning the abduction of the same. Further, she reiterated a call for the release of international humanitarian staff, including Yemeni citizens employed by the United States and the United Nations.
ANDRÉS EFREN MONTALVO SOSA (Ecuador) cautioned against incidents in Yemen that keep the civilian population on edge and threaten to undermine the progress achieved in political negotiations. Encouraging the parties to the conflict to commit to a permanent cessation of hostilities, he highlighted the need to pursue the second phase of releasing detainees within the framework of the prisoner exchange agreement and with the support of the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Such actions will open the door to establishing a transparent system of justice and accountability. The years of war have left their mark which will be very difficult to overcome and will require the assistance of the international community. Despite the alarming figures of displaced Yemenis and the number of people dependent on humanitarian assistance for their survival, there are still hurdles facing personnel seeking access to provide humanitarian assistance, particularly to women. Turning to the task of salvaging the Safer oil tanker, he stressed the need to address the situation of the environmental threat looming over Yemen and the region.
ISIS MARIE DORIANE JARAUD-DARNAULT (France) called on parties to formalize a national ceasefire through further discussions in Geneva. The United Nations Verification and Inspection Mechanism for Yemen – which may have to cease operations in the summer due to a lack of funding — has been vital for building confidence between parties and enabling Yemen to continue importing essential goods. For its part, France will continue to support the Mechanism in the area of maritime security. Welcoming the mobilization of regional actors to facilitate the resumption of a political process, she emphasized that a comprehensive, inclusive political solution that accounts for the concerns and interests of all Yemenis is the only way to end the conflict. However, hope for a lasting ceasefire should not overshadow the gravity of the humanitarian situation. The Yemeni people still need aid, food and public services, and the working and security conditions of humanitarian actors continue to deteriorate. Against that backdrop, she called on the Houthis to end their restrictions, including on female personnel. Regarding the Safer, she urged Member States and the private sector to redouble their efforts to bridge the funding gap.
VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta), noting that Yemen is experiencing the longest period of relative calm since the beginning of the war, welcomed the prisoner exchange, a significant step in confidence-building from both sides. Alleviating the dire humanitarian situation in Yemen must remain a priority in any negotiations, as two thirds of Yemen’s population need humanitarian assistance, with over 4 million internally displaced. Landmines are a leading cause of civilian deaths, particularly among children, and urgent demining efforts must be ramped up. Greater freedom of movement across Yemen, as well as renewed efforts to open the roads in Ta’iz and other governorates, is necessary, as movement restrictions obstruct humanitarian access to populations in need. More so, she called for the immediate lifting of the Mahram requirements that prevent female Yemeni staff from delivering critical services that only women can deliver. She also called for the immediate release of all United Nations staff and humanitarian workers who have been abducted or detained. In addition, she voiced alarm at reports of forced and early marriage, as well as sexual and gender-based violence. She also commended the progress made in the implementation of the United Nations-coordinated plan regarding the Safer oil tanker.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan) voiced hope that dialogue between the parties will feed into the United Nations-mediated, Yemeni-owned political process and build progress towards durable peace in Yemen. She welcomed the Special Envoy’s work with Yemeni and regional stakeholders, underscoring the need for inclusivity in communications between the parties. Further, implementing agreements reached during the United Nations-led mediation process is crucial to achieving long-term security in the country. Notwithstanding progress on the political track, she emphasized: “Let us not shield our eyes from the suffering of the Yemeni people, who are enduring the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.” She also echoed the “Group of 7” foreign ministers’ call for the lifting of Houthi-imposed impediments to humanitarian assistance, which impact women and girls. Turning to the Safer issue, she welcomed the 4 May pledging event by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, as well as support by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), calling on other agencies to collaborate on filling the financial gap to help prevent a potential disaster.
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), noting the political crisis settlement progress, pointed to the absence of large-scale hostilities and welcomed the exchange of detainees. Yemen’s leadership should take more active steps to find compromised solutions, he said, adding that both sides should make concessions to achieve peace. Welcoming the ongoing mediation efforts of Saudi Arabia and Oman, he noted that the Russian Federation maintains contact with all the county’s leading political forces. The international community’s common objective in Yemen is settlement and not the pursuit of different agendas, including in the energy sphere. While underscoring the need of resolving the issues of principle that impede the settlement and also influence neighbouring States, he expressed hope that the Special Envoy’s “shuttle diplomacy” will lead to a ceasefire. At some stage, the international legal settlement foundations in Yemen will need to be updated to reflect the developments on the ground, he added. Pointing to a dire humanitarian situation, he said the basic essentials — food and medicines — should be provided to the people on a non-discriminatory basis.
JEFFREY DELAURENTIS (United States), calling the recent prisoner exchange an important step forward, urged the parties to the conflict to intensify their efforts and reach a more comprehensive agreement that resumes Government oil exports and paves the way for an inclusive Yemeni political process. Such a process should include the voices of civil society, women and members of marginalized groups, as well as address Yemeni calls for justice, accountability and redress for human rights abuses. “This is the only way to achieve a lasting peace in Yemen,” he asserted, urging the parties to engage closely with the Special Envoy and build on the progress achieved. However, despite the 13 months of de-escalation, the humanitarian situation in that country remains dire and a funding gap remains, he observed, encouraging donors to give generously to the humanitarian appeal. Further, he called for an immediate release of the international humanitarian staff, including Yemeni citizens employed by the United Nations, who have been forcibly detained for 18 months. Underscoring the need to bring lasting peace to the Yemeni people, he declared: “This is a hopeful moment for Yemen.”
PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland), Council President for May, speaking in her national capacity and reiterating the appeal of 100 non-governmental organizations, stressed: “We call on you to maintain sharp focus on reaching a new truce deal and initiating steps towards a real, long-lasting, and inclusive Yemeni peace process.” Welcoming Oman and Saudi Arabia’s peace efforts, she urged the parties involved to conclude ongoing dialogues and agree on confidence-building measures, including the prisoners release. Civil society — especially women — must be a part of the political settlement process, she emphasized, adding that their participation should be free from threats or reprisals. Further, she condemned the restrictions imposed on humanitarian organizations, including on female workers, while reminding all the parties of their obligations to allow and facilitate safe and unhindered aid delivery. In the absence of peace, the protection of children from conflict-related violence remains challenging, she said, pointing to the increased number of child victims of mines and explosive remnants of war. To this end, she called on all parties to implement their action plans and prevent violations against children.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen), reaffirming his Government’s commitment to the choice of peace, pledged constructive, positive engagement towards a comprehensive ceasefire; re-launching an inclusive political process under the United Nations; and achieving the Yemeni people’s legitimate aspirations for security, stability and development. However, the Houthis have chosen to fan the flames of conflict and, through their actions, have repeatedly proven that they are not serious about responsibly engaging in peace efforts. They continue to threaten war; shed Yemeni blood; violate international humanitarian human-rights law; restrict rights and freedoms, including by depriving women of their fundamental rights and participation; arrest journalists; target residential compounds; and cause displacement. The Houthis are also mobilizing fighters on the frontlines, organizing military summer camps to attract and recruit hundreds of thousands of children and planting mines that claim Yemeni lives on a daily basis. They are starving and impoverishing communities, he emphasized, spotlighting their eight-year-long suffocating siege of Ta’iz and their continued attacks on that city. He called on the international community and the Council to live up to their commitments by putting more pressure on the Houthis and Iran to choose peace.
He went on to say that, despite scarce resources, Yemen is sparing no effort to provide basic services to alleviate the suffering of its people. Among other things, his Government is implementing administrative, financial and economic reforms to address weak institutional performance at the central and local levels. For their part, all friendly countries, donors and international organizations should provide development, humanitarian and economic assistance, he stressed. Partners should also exert pressure on the Houthi militias to refrain from using the humanitarian issue of detainees as a tool for political blackmail. Turning to the Safer, he urged donor countries, organizations and the private sector to close the funding gap; emphasized that actors must respect both the rescue plan’s timeline and strict environmental conditions; and expressed readiness to provide all necessary facilities to avoid the serious consequences of an imminent environmental, economic and humanitarian disaster. “The Yemeni people [are] longing for peace and for a future of security, stability and development,” he underscored, adding: “They do not want further suffering, conflict, drones, ballistic missiles and mines.”