Amid Relative Calm in Yemen, Warring Parties Must Halt Military Provocations, Achieve Key Breakthrough to End War, Special Envoy Tells Security Council
The parties to the conflict in Yemen must immediately stop military provocations and agree to a sustainable nationwide ceasefire, address economic priorities and restart an intra-Yemeni political process under United Nations auspices, the Organization’s senior official for that country told the Security Council today, as he spotlighted positive developments and urged members to encourage the parties to work along the path he outlined.
Hans Grundberg, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, informed the 15-nation organ that, despite the expiry of the truce, Yemen and its people continue to feel the benefits from the longest period of relative calm since the beginning of the conflict. Commercial flights between Sana’a and Amman continue, he said, welcoming the first commercial flights in seven years between Sana’a and Saudi Arabia, carrying Yemeni hajj pilgrims. Fuel also continues to flow steadily through Hudaydah’s ports.
“Most importantly, this period of relative calm has opened the door for serious discussions with Yemeni actors on the way forward towards ending the conflict,” he emphasized. Ongoing talks must reach a serious breakthrough for a sustainable end to the war, he stressed, voicing gratitude for the support to that end of regional actors. However, the situation on the ground remains fragile and challenging, he said, pointing to provocative military actions, parties’ battles on the economic front and restrictions on freedom of movement, among other issues.
The way forward, although challenging, is well-lit, he pointed out, stressing the need for the parties to immediately stop military provocations and prepare for and agree to a sustainable nationwide ceasefire. They also must immediately de-escalate economically and address near- and longer-term economic priorities. Moreover, the parties must make progress on agreeing to a clear path to restart an intra-Yemeni political process under United Nations auspices, he emphasized, calling on Council members to wield their influence to encourage the parties to stop escalatory actions and work along the path he presented today.
Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya warned that “humanitarian needs in Yemen will remain high for the foreseeable future”. Stressing that the staggering number of people in need can be reduced only by stabilizing the economy, she called for the long-overdue resumption of oil exports from Government-held areas. Detailing the United Nations work on the ground, she said some activities are forced to scale back due to funding of the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan at just 29 per cent. She called for the immediate release of detained United Nations staff and for the protection of all humanitarian workers.
David Gressly, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Yemen, providing a progress report on the Organization’s operation to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from the decaying SFO Safer tanker, noted that, Smith Salvage, the subsidiary contracted by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has certified to UNDP that the planned transfer of over 1 million barrels of oil can proceed. Authorities in Sana’a today authorized the transfer to the replacement vessel, he added. Welcoming the support of Yemeni authorities and a broad coalition of groups to the operation, he pointed out, however, that $25 million is still needed to repay the money, which was borrowed from the Central Emergency Relief Fund to begin the operation.
In the ensuing discussion, Council members voiced support for Special Envoy Grundberg’s efforts and welcomed positive developments in the country. Expressing concern about the dire humanitarian situation and deteriorating economic conditions, they called for support of the humanitarian response plan, unimpeded humanitarian access and the lifting of freedom of movement restrictions, among others. Speakers also welcomed the resolution renewing the mandate of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) for another year, which they unanimously adopted during the immediately preceding meeting. (See Press Release SC/15346.)
Ecuador’s representative urged unhindered humanitarian access to support 4.5 million displaced persons and the growing number of Yemenis facing food insecurity. He also called for continuous clearing of anti-personnel mines and explosive devices which prevent the use of the land for productive activities to fuel the economy. An inclusive agreement and a definitive ceasefire will enable the country to focus its efforts on its political, economic and social recovery, he stressed.
Ghana’s representative, also speaking for Gabon and Mozambique and echoing other delegations, stressed that regional efforts remain key for peace, highlighting the pivotal role played by Oman and Saudi Arabia to that end. He called for increased international support to fund the humanitarian response plan for Yemen and urged the Council to end the economic blockade. While a Yemeni-led and -owned political process remains the best solution, he said the renewal of the truce and nationwide ceasefire is necessary for this process to commence.
Jaap Slootmaker, Vice-Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management for the Netherlands, noted that his country has been leading the fundraising campaign to enable the United Nations to prevent oil spills from the SFO Safer oil tanker — which urgently requires $25 million to complete. “After years of continued joint effort, the first steps of the operation to transfer the oil off the vessel are about to commence,” he said.
Likewise, the representative of the United Kingdom, Council President for July, speaking in her national capacity, pointed out that the Organization is compromised in its ability to respond to current and future crises until the $25 million loan for the SFO Safer tanker operation is repaid. She added that the Houthis’ anti-vaccination policy is a serious threat to public health, urging the relevant authorities to allow for urgent vaccination campaigns. She also spotlighted the ongoing detention of 13 members of the Baha’i community and urged the Houthis to uphold the freedom of religion and to release the remaining detainees — a call echoed by other delegations.
The representative of Albania was among several speakers who stressed that staff of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations and other civilians abducted by armed groups or forcibly disappeared must be released unconditionally and immediately. Condemning all restrictions on the freedom of movement of female relief workers and others, he also called for full accountability for gross violations of children’s rights. Noting the benefits of the truce, he urged all relevant actors not to waste this window of hope.
The speaker for the Russian Federation, in a similar vein, observed that the situation in the country gives reason for guarded optimism. Stressing the importance of pooling international and regional players’ efforts at bringing closer the positions of the parties to the Yemeni conflict, she said her country intends to continue to closely coordinate with all leading Yemeni forces to urge them to seek mutually acceptable solutions and build trust, including with key regional partners.
Yemen’s representative said his country is missing a true partner in achieving peace, pointing out that Houthi militias are not observing the truce and persist with the economic war. He commended Saudi Arabia’s efforts in supporting the Presidential Leadership Council and called on the Council to bring pressure on the militias — supported by Iran — to stop using the economy for political gains. “The Yemeni people cannot endure any more humanitarian suffering,” he stressed, adding that militias are destroying the country’s resources and its social fabric.
The meeting began at 10:08 a.m. and ended at 11:57 a.m.
DAVID GRESSLY, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Yemen, providing a progress report on the United Nations operation to prevent a catastrophic oil spill from the decaying SFO Safer tanker, noted that, since the salvage ship Endeavor arrived on the site on 30 May, Smith Salvage, the subsidiary contracted by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has taken steps to stabilize the decaying tanker to prepare for the removal of over one million barrels of oil. He went on to enumerate work he has witnessed over the past five weeks, including the inspection of the vessel; a structural assessment of the hull to ensure its thickness level can withstand the forces generated by the oil transfer; pumping of inner gases into the cargo tank to reduce risk of fire or explosion; continuous testing to ensure the atmosphere is at a safe level, among others. As a result, Smith Salvage has certified to UNDP that the oil transfer can proceed, with a level of risk within an acceptable range, he said.
Nonetheless, the upcoming oil transfer poses a residual risk, he went on, noting that the United Nations and partners had therefore put in place a crisis management team based in Hudaydah, which is equipped to respond to incidents. He took note of other preparatory steps for the operation, including the waiver of all fees associated with the Endeavour’s arrival by authorities in Sana’a, and access, security and technical support provided by the Safer Technical Committee in Hudaydah to the operation, in line with the 5 March 2022 Memorandum of Understanding. Amid a sensitive security environment, the Committee was quick to resolve issues arising from miscommunications when they arose, he said, adding that authorities in Sana’a today authorized the transfer of oil to the replacement vessel.
Looking ahead, he said that the replacement vessel will prepare to commence the oil transfer early next week, which will take two weeks to complete once it begins. The moment of the start of that operation will be one at which “the whole world can heave a sigh of relief, with an environmental and economic catastrophe from a massive oil spill averted”. However, the next critical step would be the installation of a “calm buoy” to which the replacement vessel can be safely installed by September, given that currents and winds turn dangerous in October, he said.
He welcomed the critical political, technical and financial support of Yemeni authorities to the operation, noting that their $5 billion funding made them its sixth-largest donor. He also welcomed support from a broad coalition of groups, including Greenpeace and the United Nations country team, while taking note of the operation’s top five donors: Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, Germany, United States and the United Kingdom. A sum of $25 million is still needed to repay the money borrowed from the Central Emergency Relief Fund, the bridging fund which enabled UNDP to begin the operation, he added.
HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, said that, despite the expiry of the truce, Yemen and its people continue to feel the benefits from the longest period of relative calm since the beginning of the conflict, highlighting that the truce contributed to a 40 per cent decrease in grave violations against children. However, more progress is needed, he pointed out. He condemned the mortar attack last week that injured five children in Hays district, south of Hudaydah, and called on all parties to uphold their obligations under international law and prevent and end violations against children. Commercial flights between Sana’a and Amman continue, he said, welcoming the first commercial flights in seven years between Sana’a and Saudi Arabia, carrying Yemeni hajj pilgrims. Fuel also continues to flow steadily through Hudaydah’s ports, he added.
“Most importantly, this period of relative calm has opened the door for serious discussions with Yemeni actors on the way forward towards ending the conflict,” he emphasized. Ongoing discussions must reach a serious breakthrough for a sustainable end to the war, he stressed, voicing gratitude for the support to that end of regional actors, especially Saudi Arabia and Oman. His office recently convened the parties in Amman to discuss further detainee releases, building on the successful large-scale release of detainees in March, in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), he said, also voicing gratitude to the Government of Jordan for its support to the work of his office. “For more than a year, we have seen some important and positive steps that have de-escalated violence and helped to improve the lives of Yemenis,” he emphasized.
However, the situation on the ground remains fragile and challenging, he said, noting that, on the military situation, although fighting has decreased markedly since the start of the truce, armed clashes have taken place in Dhale’, Ta’iz, Hudaydah, Marib and Shabwa. Voicing concern about reports of troop movements and a recent parade of fighters in Ibb, he called on the parties to stop provocative military actions and rhetoric that raise the spectre of further escalation. The parties continue to battle on a different front — the economy, he added, noting that the struggle to control revenue-generating ports, trade routes, the banking sector, currency and natural-resource wealth has become inseparable from the political and military conflict. The value of the Yemeni riyal against the United States dollar in Aden has decreased by over 25 per cent in the past 12 months, he added.
Detailing other challenges, including freedom-of-movement restrictions, compounded by landmines, unexploded ordnance and climate-change-related extreme weather events, he said the restriction that women and girls travel accompanied by a male relative has expanded significantly over the past year, especially in Ansar Allah-controlled areas. The way forward, although challenging, is well-lit, he pointed out, stressing the need for the parties to immediately stop military provocations and prepare for and agree to a sustainable nationwide ceasefire. They also must immediately de-escalate economically and address near- and longer-term economic priorities. Moreover, the parties must make progress on agreeing to a clear path to restarting an intra-Yemeni political process under United Nations auspices, he emphasized, calling on Council members to wield their influence to encourage the parties to stop escalatory actions and work along the path he outlined today.
JOYCE MSUYA, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, warned that “humanitarian needs in Yemen will remain high for the foreseeable future”, noting that, this year, the humanitarian community seeks to reach 17.3 million people, out of a staggering 21.6 million in need of assistance. At the current pace, the number of arriving migrants is expected to double from last year, she said. They usually arrive in Yemen seeking better opportunities elsewhere. Once in Yemen, however, they face exploitation and violence, she said. Asylum-seekers and refugees use the same routes, arrive in mixed flows with migrants and face similar threats. Overall, the humanitarian community estimates that 300,000 migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees need humanitarian assistance this year, she said, calling on the relevant parties to fulfil their obligations to meet the essential needs — such as health, food, water and shelter — of all civilians under their control.
Stressing that the staggering number of people in need can be reduced only by stabilizing the economy, she called for the long-overdue resumption of oil exports from Government-held areas, which is also critical for paying public sector salaries. The United Nations is enhancing its presence in the divided city of Ta’iz to work with local authorities and communities to increase access to safe drinking water on both sides of the city and bolster socioeconomic development. In Houthi-controlled areas, restrictions on the movement of female national staff continue to impede the Organization’s ability to carry out vital projects for women and girls, she pointed out, drawing attention to delays in receiving authorization to carry out assessments and attempts to interfere in tendering processes. In Government-controlled areas, authorities have begun processing work permits for international aid staff, after some delays, she added.
Turning to the 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, which is funded at just 29 per cent, she said: “The grim consequence of this is that some activities are forced to scale back.” The World Food Programme’s (WFP) malnutrition treatment activities are operating at 40 per cent of what is required, she noted, warning that, by September, WFP may be forced to cut as many as 5 million people from food assistance. Lastly, she called for immediate release of the five United Nations staff abducted in Abyan in February 2022, the two staff detained in Sana’a since November 2021 and for the protection of all humanitarian workers. “As the political process progresses, we must remain vigilant and active on the humanitarian front,” she said, calling for the Council’s support.
BARBARA WOODWARD (United Kingdom), Council President for July, spoke in her national capacity to note that the Organization still needs $25 million to safely secure the oil and complete the job involving the Safer tanker. “The funding gap includes a UN loan, which was crucial to getting us this far,” she pointed out, adding that the Organization is compromised in its ability to respond to current and future crises until this is repaid. Noting persistent concerns regarding the humanitarian situation, she emphasized that the Houthis’ anti-vaccination policy is a serious threat to public health and urged the relevant authorities to allow for urgent vaccination campaigns. Further, she spotlighted the ongoing detention of 13 members of the Baha’i community, calling on the Houthis to uphold the freedom of religion and to release the remaining detainees, especially those in need of urgent medical care.
HAROLD ADLAI AGYEMAN (Ghana), also speaking for Gabon and Mozambique, noted cautious optimism about Yemen’s peace prospects. A “rare period of relative calm” has created an enabling environment for other benefits of the truce to take root, he observed, spotlighting increased commercial flights between Sana’a and Amman and the first flight from Yemen’s capital to Jeddah. He also recalled that 900 conflict-related detainees were released in March, expressing hope that all detainees will eventually be released. Condemning recent military hostilities along the front lines, he said that regional efforts remain key for peace. In that regard, Oman and Saudi Arabia play a pivotal role through their attempts to resolve Yemen’s crisis. Turning to the dire humanitarian situation, he called for increased international support to fund the humanitarian response plan for Yemen, which is currently 70 per cent underfunded.
The humanitarian crisis is compounded by a declining economic condition, he emphasized, urging the Council to end the economic blockade. He also called on the Houthis to grant humanitarian access to those in need. Recognizing the risk posed by landmines and explosive remnants of war, he underlined the importance of demining efforts to free up affected agricultural lands for food production and reiterated a call for effective international and local collaboration to this end. Turning to the Safer oil tanker, he urged the international community to help bridge the outstanding funding gap of $28 million. While a Yemeni-led and -owned political process remains the best solution, he said the renewal of the truce and nationwide ceasefire is necessary for this process to commence. “The parties must work assiduously towards the creation of that condition,” he underscored.
ALEXANDRE OLMEDO (France) called on all parties — particularly the Houthis — to work towards a durable national ceasefire to end the situation of “neither war nor peace”. France welcomes the renewal of the United Nations Mission in Support of the Hudaydah Agreement (UNMHA) and calls on the Houthis to refrain from actions that lead to economic damage, including impeding the import of essential goods. Turning to diplomatic efforts, he commended the Special Envoy and regional actors, such as Oman and Saudi Arabia, calling for a comprehensive political solution with women politicians involved in negotiations. On the worrying humanitarian situation, he urged increased funding for the humanitarian response plan and called for the lifting of restrictions on humanitarian workers. While welcoming the reduction in the recruitment of children in 2022, he nevertheless called on the Houthis to stop recruiting or indoctrinating children through so-called summer camps.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania), noting the benefits of the truce, urged all relevant actors not to waste this window of hope. He voiced concern over the volatile security situation in Yemen, as well as over reports that the Houthis have blocked oil and essential goods. Condemning all restrictions on the freedom of movement of female relief workers and others, he also called for full accountability for gross violations of children’s rights. Further, he spotlighted the mistreatment of religious minorities in the country, calling on the Houthis to immediately release Baha’i abductees. Staff of the United Nations and non-governmental organizations — and other civilians abducted by armed groups or forcibly disappeared — must be released unconditionally and immediately. While peace is on the horizon, that prospect is fragile, he emphasized, calling on parties to accelerate their efforts towards sustained peace.
HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) expressed hope that in the short-term progress can be made towards the second phase of prisoner release. Urging the parties to reach an inclusive agreement and a definitive ceasefire, he said this will enable the country to focus its efforts on its political, economic and social recovery. He pointed out that 20 million Yemenis require assistance, while expressing concern over impediments to humanitarian aid and the work of women. In this regard, he called for enabling unhindered humanitarian access to support 4.5 million displaced persons and the growing number of Yemenis facing food insecurity. He called for continuous clearing of anti-personnel mines and explosive devices which prevent the use of the land for productive activities to fuel the economy. He also reaffirmed the need to consolidate implementation of the 2014 Plan of Action and the 2018 Road Map, while also underscoring the importance of women’s participation in the peacebuilding process.
DARREN CAMILLERI (Malta) welcomed that last year’s truce continued to deliver benefits, and that steps have been taken towards building an environment for constructive dialogue. As well, he welcomed acts of reconciliation between parties in recent months, including the first direct flights between Yemen and Saudi Arabia in nearly seven years. He urged that such positive momentum be sustained, calling on parties to the conflict to take decisive steps towards a peaceful and comprehensive solution, stressing that an inclusive Yemeni-led and owned political process under United Nations auspices is the only way to bring lasting peace. Turning to the dire humanitarian situation in the country, with Yemen remaining one of the most food-insecure countries in the world, he underlined the urgent need for financial contributions for Yemen’s 2023 Humanitarian Response Plan, which remains chronically underfunded, threatening the provision of life-saving aid. Against that backdrop, he voiced concern about chronic access impediments for humanitarian workers across Yemen, in part due to movement restrictions imposed on Yemeni women aid workers, reiterating his call for the lifting of the Mahram requirements.
SHINO MITSUKO (Japan) expressed her country’s full support for the Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate the process to realize inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni political talks under the auspices of the United Nations. Voicing concern that the Houthis are imposing measures intended to undermine the economic capacity of the Yemeni Government, she said Tokyo has repeatedly emphasized the importance of economic stability in Yemen and has provided assistance to that purpose. On the Safer tanker, she welcomed the recent rapid progress of the Safer Salvage Operations Project, adding that her country has contributed $1 million to the project to support emergency preparedness for and response to oil pollution and engaged with United Nations agencies to collectively find solutions to fill the financial gap to prevent an environmental, humanitarian and global economic crisis.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil), pointing to the key role of the Mission in preventing escalation in the Governorate of Hudaydah, highlighted the economic and humanitarian importance of the Hudaydah’s ports. He expressed concern over the impact of landmines on the civilian population, while urging those present to strengthen mine action capabilities and increase related projects. “The cooperation of all parties is indispensable to ensuring the safety and well-being of the local communities,” he stressed. Recognizing the complexities of the Safer tanker operation, he expressed hope for the timely commencement of the oil transfer. Further, he welcomed the recent increase in commercial flights between Sana’a and Amman, and the first flight from Yemen’s capital to Saudi Arabia since 2016. Spotlighting the aid-delivery impediments and the funding shortfall of the Verification and Inspection Mechanism, he underlined the importance of bolstering Yemen’s economy by resuming oil exports, removing obstacles to overland export transit and improving electricity provision.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) called on the Houthis to fully comply with the resolution and remove all restrictions on UNMHA’s freedom of movement. He also called on the Houthis to direct the revenue from the port of Hudaydah, especially the disbursement of salaries in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement, and to stop using these funds to pay for their military operations. While noting positive steps, including the maintenance of last year’s truce, he stressed: “The long-suffering Yemeni people deserve better.” Underscoring the need for comprehensive peace and a fair distribution of wealth, he welcomed the role of Saudi Arabia in defusing tensions and the mediation of Oman. Despite Yemen’s restraint, he deplored the recent “unjust escalation”, including artillery attacks and drone strikes, which has led to many civilian casualties, calling on the Houthis to cease such attacks and underlining the need to conclude a permanent ceasefire agreement. On the humanitarian situation, he deplored restrictions imposed by the Houthis on aid delivery and movement of humanitarian personnel, as well as its meddling in the selection process of aid recipients.
ANNA M. EVSTIGNEEVA (Russian Federation), noting that the situation in the country gives reason for guarded optimism, underscored the importance of pooling international and regional players’ efforts at bringing closer the positions of the parties to the Yemeni conflict. Her country intends to continue to closely coordinate with all leading Yemeni forces to urge them to seek mutually acceptable solutions and build trust, including with key regional partners, she said, voicing hope that Special Envoy Grundberg’s efforts will translate into a sustainable, long-term truce. Stressing the need to review and update the international legal basis for the settlement, she opposed a broad interpretation of Council resolutions on Yemen, adding that restrictions should be used to facilitate a peaceful settlement and not to fuel political turbulence in the region. She also voiced concern that certain foreign naval presences are manipulating Council decisions in bad faith when they conduct inspections in nearby areas.
GENG SHUANG (China), warning that the window of opportunity for peace will not remain open forever, urged the parties concerned to heighten their sense of urgency and set reasonable expectations for the negotiations. “The members of the Council should remain united,” he stressed, while recalling the recent clashes, resulting in casualties and security tensions. Urging the parties to exercise restraint and refrain from actions that undermine mutual trust, he pointed out that Yemen remains the country with the most critical humanitarian situation. Since the beginning of the rainy season, several governorates have been hit by floods, which have destroyed crops and infrastructure, he reported, urging the international community to increase its humanitarian assistance. Recognizing the progress of crude oil transfer from the Safer tanker, he expressed hope for a joint plan for the oil’s disposal. “As a good friend and partner of the country in the region, China is ready to work with all parties to uphold genuine multilateralism,” he emphasized.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD (United States), welcoming progress on the Safer tanker operation, called for such momentum to be maintained in securing the additional $25 million required to complete both phases of the operation. Resources must also be provided to Yemen’s dangerously underfunded humanitarian response, she said, pointing out that famine-like conditions are poised to re-emerge. The United States welcomes the renewal of UNMHA’s mandate for 12 months, while underlining the need for freedom of movement for humanitarian workers. Positive steps such as the commencement of flights from Sana’a are insufficient, she said, calling on the Houthis to stop impeding the sale of cooking gas and the movement of goods to the north. The United States calls on the Houthis to immediately and unconditionally release the local employees of United States embassy staff, 13 Yemeni Baha’is — including one person in need of medical treatment — and Levi Marhabi, a Jewish man, from their custody.
ADRIAN DOMINIK HAURI (Switzerland), noting that the amplifying effect of climate change and environmental degradation in Yemen exacerbates the risks and tensions around access to water, urged intensified efforts to promote peace in Yemen. He welcomed the progress made in the rescue plan for the Safer oil tanker and commended the commitment of the Resident Coordinator and the United Nations system to avoid an environmental disaster in the Red Sea. Underscoring the importance of an inclusive process to reach a peace agreement, he stressed that regional players must take a concerted approach in line with the needs and aspirations of the population. Noting the talks held last month in Amman on a potential exchange of prisoners, he reiterated his country’s readiness to host future discussions on this subject. All vulnerable people must be able to benefit from humanitarian aid, he said, voicing concern about the situation of refugees and migrants arriving from the Horn of Africa.
ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen) said that peace cannot be achieved unless his country has a true partner that believes in the civilian State and equal citizenship, and renounces its right to rule. Underscoring the importance of collective action to compel the Houthi militias, supported by Iran, to end the conflict, he regretted that Yemen is missing a true partner in achieving peace. He commended Saudi Arabia’s support of the Presidential Leadership Council and his Government in alleviating humanitarian suffering, while noting that his Government has demonstrated flexibility and made unilateral concessions to renew the truce. “This is testament to our commitment to ending the suffering of our people,” he stressed, while pointing out that the Houthi militias have not fulfilled their commitment or made necessary concessions. Instead, they continue to reject peace efforts and impose restrictions on rights and freedoms, including the blocking of the Governorate of Ta’iz, while also recruiting tens of thousands of children to summer camps and systematically detailing religious minorities. Most recently, 17 Baha’is, including 5 children, were detained in Sana’a and are now considered forcingly disappeared, he reported.
“Houthi militias are not observing the truce,” he stated, pointing to their continuous economic war. The rejection of peace undermines peaceful settlement, he stressed, calling on the Council to bring pressure on the militias — supported by Iran — to stop using the economy for political gains. “The Yemeni people cannot endure any more humanitarian suffering,” he stated, adding that militias are destroying the country’s resources and its social fabric. They target national economic facilities, prevent vessels and commercial tankers from entering ports for export, as well as obstruct the Government’s efforts to provide basic services and pay the salaries of public servants, he stressed, adding that, most recently, the Houthis have stormed the Chamber of Commerce in Sana’a and forcibly replaced the Board of Directors with one loyal to them.
In this context, he said the Government has implemented comprehensive reforms to maintain the relative stability of the national economy by countering corruption, streamlining spending and improving revenues and enhancing transparency. He called on the Security Council to support Yemen’s Presidential Leadership Council and his Government’s efforts to stop the militias’ economic war and arbitrary action against banks and the private sector, as well as the restrictions on movement of goods and humanitarian aid. Recalling that the militias are not complying with the Stockholm and the Hudaydah Agreements, while also restricting UNMHA’s patrols in monitoring the ceasefire, he said the militias have recently targeted Hais district, claiming civilian lives and planting thousands of mines, which have led to civilian injuries and disabilities.
JAAP SLOOTMAKER, Vice-Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management for the Netherlands, said his country has been leading the fundraising campaign to enable the United Nations to prevent oil spills from the Safer tanker. Thanking more than 20 countries and various private donors, he said their contributions helped the United Nations secure a replacement vessel, contract a salvaging company and start the operation. However, the world body urgently requires $25 million to fully complete the operation, including establishing a permanent solution to prevent a similar crisis from occurring in the future. “After years of continued joint effort, the first steps of the operation to transfer the oil off the vessel are about to commence,” he said, explaining that a Dutch salvaging company has executed the necessary inspections and the last preparations are in course. He urged all parties involved to proceed as quickly as possible to allow the replacement vessel to sail to its destination, not to lose any valuable time and momentum.