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Situation in Yemen Remains Stable, Special Envoy Tells Security Council, Highlighting Importance of Resuming Political Process, Ceasefire

HAFIZ ISSAHAKU (Ghana) said that, ahead of a new truce agreement, the parties must stave off any action that could threaten Yemen’s fragile security situation and escalate violence.  Calling for restraint, he said the international community — and in particular regional stakeholders with influence over the parties — must prevail on the latter to return to the negotiating table “with an open mind”.  Attempts at rearming will not serve the cause of peace.  Voicing support for the Special Envoy’s proposal of a six-month extension of the truce, he said addressing Yemen’s humanitarian crisis remains of utmost importance.  In that regard, he appealed to the donor community to shore up its support to Yemen’s humanitarian response plan, while calling for more international action to support demining efforts in the country.  He also joined other speakers in decrying impediments placed on humanitarian aid efforts and voicing concern about Yemen’s deteriorating economic situation — especially high inflation, rising food costs and Yemeni rial’s depreciation.DAI BING (China) said the truce brought the hope of peace, as well as tangible benefits to the Yemeni people.  While the situation remains stable, “the status quo of neither war nor peace” is not sustainable.  All parties concerned should engage in dialogue, while the international community should provide support.  The Houthis, in particular, should demonstrate full political will and set reasonable expectations.  Expressing support for the Special Envoy’s efforts, he said the Council should remain united in support of peace talks and elevate the humanitarian plight of the Yemeni people.  All parties in the country must allow unimpeded humanitarian access and put civilians’ needs first.  Noting that China is planning to provide additional humanitarian and reconstruction aid across the region in the coming months, including in Yemen, he said Beijing remains strongly committed to helping Gulf region States uphold peace and security. DMITRY A. POLYANSKIY (Russian Federation) stressed that the absence of acute military escalation demonstrates the broad inclination of the Yemen-leading forces towards the renewal of the truce.  “Implementing this, however, has been made more difficult by mutual antagonism,” he cautioned, urging the international community to demonstrate “maximum restraint” and not allow any provocation — particularly a military one — which could lead to a catastrophe.  To this end, he called for an impartial negotiation process, taking into account the legitimate interest of all leading political forces.  Achieving stabilization is only possible through direct dialogue with the Ansar Allah movement, he said.  The end goal of the West is not a lasting solution to challenges faced by Yemen, which have a direct impact on neighbouring countries.  Rather, the aim of the West is to ensure smooth export of Yemeni hydrocarbons onto the global market, he said, describing this opportunistic approach as “extremely dangerous for sustainable peace in the country”.  Meanwhile, the Russian Federation continues to provide assistance to the resolution in Yemen, maintaining ties with the official authorities and with the Houthis.  Underscoring the importance of inter-Yemeni contacts and the dialogue with the Special Envoy, he expressed hope that Mr. Grundberg’s efforts will result in constructive proposals that can serve as a foundation for the renewal of the ceasefire and a fully fledged political process.  Further, he highlighted the need to provide humanitarian assistance to all people in the country and lift any restriction on the delivery of food and medicine.  He also expressed support for the work of United Nations specialized entities, without any restrictions on the work of female personnel. Statements While the truce agreement was in force, tensions eased and the civilian population experienced the greatest period of calm in the eight years of conflict, recalled Ecuador’s delegate, encouraging the Special Envoy to facilitate negotiations between the Houthis and the Yemeni Government aimed at renewing the truce for a further six months.  He condemned the acts of violence perpetrated by the Houthis during the last quarter of 2022, which endangered the lives of United Nations personnel and civilians.  Expressing concern that children continue to be killed and maimed by explosive remnants of war, he urged an increase in demining efforts. The security situation in Yemen also remains extremely difficult for humanitarians, he cautioned, adding that, in 2022, aid agencies reported almost 150 incidents of violence against their personnel and facilities — most of them taking place in Government-controlled areas. Despite the stable situation, “the status quo of neither war nor peace” is not sustainable, underlined China’s delegate.  Urging for dialogue of all parties concerned, he said the Houthis, in particular, should demonstrate full political will and set reasonable expectations.  Moreover, all parties in the country must allow unimpeded humanitarian access.  Expressing support for the Special Envoy’s efforts, he said the Council should remain united in support of peace talks and elevate the humanitarian plight of the Yemeni people. ALEXANDRE OLMEIDO (France) urged the Council to do everything possible to prevent a resumption of hostilities in Yemen.  Describing the situation as fragile, he said eight years of conflict have shown that no military solution is possible.  Calling on all the parties, including the Houthis, to exercise restraint and demonstrate responsibility, he condemned the latter’s strategy aimed at economically stifling the Government.  It is also crucial to guarantee full humanitarian access and better working conditions for humanitarian actors, he said, reiterating France’s concern over restrictions imposed on the Organization and other humanitarian personnel, and calling on the Houthis to respect women aid workers and release detained United Nations personnel unconditionally.  Regarding the Safer oil tanker, he announced France’s contribution of an additional €1 million for implementation of the United Nations rescue plan.  Also expressing support for mediation efforts under way under the auspices of Oman, he called upon the Houthis to change course and consider the interests of the Yemeni people above their own ambitions. PEDRO COMISSÁRIO AFONSO (Mozambique), supporting continued efforts to reinstate the truce between the Yemeni authorities and the Houthis, stressed that the Council must support efforts aimed at achieving a political settlement of the conflict that can lead to durable peace and stability in the country.  He went on to express concern over the unparalleled humanitarian tragedy, the continued threat to the free movement of goods in one of the most important international shipping lanes and the sanctuary the conflict might offer to terrorists and extremists.  He also called for the immediate release of all aid workers held captive, underlining the involved parties’ obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law.  As the risk of relapse into renewed all-out war remains high, no effort should be spared in averting such a development.  Further, he echoed calls for an urgent, generous response by the international community to the Organization’s humanitarian appeal for Yemen.  Commending the Yemeni Government’s willingness to find a negotiated solution to the conflict, he also reiterated his country’s support for the Special Envoy’s important work. ISHIKANE KIMIHIRO (Japan), Council President for January, speaking in his national capacity, stressed that stability in Yemen is critical not only for peace in the entire Middle East, but also for the security of the adjacent sea lanes, which are directly linked to the security of global supply chains.  In this light, he voiced strong concern over the unstable security situation in Yemen, which was exacerbated by the Houthi attacks on Al-Dhabba oil terminal and the Qena seaport in October and November 2022.  “There is no military solution to this conflict.  A political solution through dialogue is the only option,” he said, expressing support to the Special Envoy.  He called on the parties concerned — especially the Houthis — to take the necessary actions to renew the truce in Yemen.  The long-standing conflict in that country has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, he said, noting that Japan will continue to support the people of Yemen by providing additional humanitarian assistance package.  Yet, providing humanitarian assistance alone is not sufficient to deliver peace and stability in Yemen.  It is also important to create an environment in which the Yemeni people can engage in economic activity.  To this end, he said Japan’s assistance to strengthen the functions of the Port of Aden should play an important role in the reconstruction of the economy. On that point, he underscored that the Houthis are expanding the crisis on all levels — brainwashing children in “summer camps”, using sexual violence to oppress women’s voices and — like the Taliban in Afghanistan — preventing women from participating in public life and from receiving an education.  Further, the Iranian regime continues to support the Houthis, extending the war and threatening regional and international peace and security.  Arms trafficking and transfers of ballistic missiles continue in violation of Council resolutions, constituting clear escalation by the Iranian regime and signalling preparation for a new round of conflict.  He therefore called on the Council to uphold its responsibility to maintain international peace and security and end this destructive conduct, which serves as a means for the Iranian regime to evade its domestic responsibilities by destabilizing the region.  He added that the international community must move from condemning terrorist attacks to taking collective action to prevent them, also urging rapid action to address the situation involving the Safer oil tanker. PASCALE CHRISTINE BAERISWYL (Switzerland) said the start of 2023 has seen Yemen suffer the effects of soaring inflation and high levels of food insecurity, compounded by increasingly harsh economic measures put in place by the parties to the conflict.  Meanwhile, livelihoods have been destroyed by devastating drought and floods — both worsened by climate change — and Yemenis have limited access to basic services and humanitarian aid.  “The truce [in place until October 2022] has provided a much-needed respite for the civilian population,” she said, calling on the parties to re-establish a formal truce and work towards a negotiated settlement.  Included in those efforts should be good‑faith dialogue, she said, also noting the need to exercise restraint.  Humanitarian assistance must be guided by the needs of the affected population and be independent of any political considerations, while rapid and unhindered access must be guaranteed throughout the country and bureaucratic restrictions must be minimized.  In addition, she underlined the crucial obligation to protect children and called on all parties to release them from their ranks, in line with international law. The representative of Saudi Arabia recalled that, while all Yemeni parties agreed in 2022 to extend the truce, the Houthi militias rejected the truce for political reasons, reneging their commitment at the last minute and proposing new demands.  Meanwhile, the Yemeni Government continued to uphold their concessions:  Sana’a airport continues to work, humanitarian flights continue and main ports are working smoothly.  This reflects the leadership of the legitimate Yemeni Government in putting the interests of the country’s people first, he said. In 2022, despite an increasingly challenging operating environment, aid agencies delivered life-saving assistance to 11 million people every month, he said, urging the international community to help narrow funding gaps for life‑saving programmes.  Pointing to 3,300 access incidents reported by humanitarian partners last year, he noted that bureaucratic impediments are the most frequently reported constraints, including restrictions on humanitarian movements, and delays in visa and work-permit approvals.  Moreover, attempted interference is prevalent at every stage of aid delivery — particularly in Houthi-controlled areas — where authorities often try to restrict the travel of aid workers.  He expressed particular concern about the imposition of strict “mahram” requirements, primarily in areas under the control of the Houthi de facto authorities.  These restrictions prevent Yemeni women aid workers from travelling without a male guardian and limit the social and economic participation of female humanitarians.  They are also severing our access to Yemen’s most vulnerable people, especially women and girls, who are already so disproportionately affected by the crisis.  “With every day that passes without a solution, this issue is becoming more acute and more urgent,” he asserted. Rounding out the discussion, Yemen’s delegate said the Houthis are impeding the work of financial institutions, creating a parallel economy by prohibiting circulation of the national currency, rejecting peace and targeting civilians.  Moreover, the Houthis are expanding the crisis on all levels — brainwashing children, using sexual violence to oppress women’s voices and preventing women from participating in public life and from receiving an education.  “Statements are no longer enough,” he declared, urging the Council to demonstrate a greater commitment to peace in Yemen by using all possible tools to apply pressure on the militia, which is being supported by Iran.  The international community must move from condemning terrorist attacks to taking collective action to prevent them, he asserted. Turning to mediation efforts, he said he has been in continued contact with the parties, as well as with regional countries.  The discussions have focused on securing agreements on military de-escalation, measures to prevent economic deterioration and mitigation of the impact of the conflict on civilians.  Noting that short-term measures can only provide temporary relief, he said it is crucial to embed these in a more holistic vision.  Stressing the importance of resuming a political process and a nationwide ceasefire, he said there is currently an intensification of regional and international diplomatic activity on this matter.  Expressing appreciation for the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Oman, he said there is potential to change the trajectory of this eight-year conflict.  The international community must not waste this possibility, he stressed, adding that Yemeni ownership of the process is crucial. VANESSA FRAZIER (Malta) said the situation in Yemen remains precarious, with intermittent episodes of violence and confrontation.  Calling on all sides — in particular the Houthis — to refrain from imposing maximalist demands, she urged them to put the Yemeni people first.  Parties must immediately re-engage in the negotiation process in good faith and work towards re-establishing a truce.  Voicing grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, she said the deprivation of the Yemeni people is morally unacceptable, and the international community must do more to alleviate it.  In that regard, she called on the Houthis to open the roads around Taïz and end the city’s blockade, which has caused untold suffering, and for the rapid implementation of the United Nations-facilitated plan to remove oil from the Safter tanker.  Meanwhile, she warned against the persistent exclusion of women from peace talks and formal politics in Yemen, particularly in light of the mahram requirement in Houthi-controlled areas. ABDULAZIZ M. ALWASIL (Saudi Arabia), commending the Special Envoy for his relentless efforts to ensure peace in Yemen, also noted the humanitarian efforts under way under the auspices of the United Nations.  Even though the Houthi militias rejected the expansion of the truce, the United Nations, in cooperation with his Government, that of Oman and the Presidential Leadership Council of Yemen, are continuing their efforts to ensure peace, he said.  While all Yemeni parties agreed in 2022 to extend the truce, the Houthi militias rejected the truce for political reasons, reneging their commitment at the last minute and proposing new demands.  They also refused to implement their commitment to deposit the profits of Hudaydah port in the Central Bank, he said, adding that, despite this, the Yemeni Government continued to uphold their concessions.  Sana’a airport continues to work, humanitarian flights continue and main ports are working smoothly.  This reflects the wisdom and leadership of the legitimate Yemeni Government in putting the interests of the country’s people first, he said, noting that the current “delicate circumstances”, gives the Houthi militia another opportunity to put down their weapons and start genuine consultations.  This is a historic moment, and the Houthis must implement their commitments, he said, adding that “history will remember that this Council failed to take firm measures against the atrocities perpetuated by the Houthis against the Yemeni people”.  Highlighting the need to establish an international committee to monitor the implementation of the Hudaydah port agreement, he expressed gratitude for the efforts of the United States. The overall security situation in Yemen has remained stable, with no major escalation, and a decisive turn in the eight-year conflict remains possible, briefers told the Security Council today, as delegates voiced support for the Special Envoy’s proposal of a six-month extension of the truce. MICHEL XAVIER BIANG (Gabon) said Yemen has entered a new phase of uncertainty since the end of the truce in October 2022, raising new fears of escalation and renewed risks to civilians.  Stressing the need to reach a new truce, he called on all stakeholders to show responsibility, flexibility and compromise by engaging in good faith in an inclusive, frank and constructive dialogue.  He voiced grave concern about the situation of Yemeni children and displaced people, who are suffering most from the conflict, he also expressed concern about the persistence of movement restrictions on humanitarian workers.  In that vein, he welcomed the additional contribution of 0 million by the World Bank to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Yemen, while calling for greater mobilization of the international community to make up a remaining 45 per cent shortfall in funding. RICHARD M. MILLS, JR. (United States) noting that, a year ago, fighting was raging inside Yemen, said that, today, a period of relative calm prevails.  Expressing concern about the lapse of the truce agreement, he said the parties must reach a new expanded agreement.  Calling on the Houthis to change course, he said their repeated terrorist attacks on Yemeni ports and international shipping are threatening to plunge Yemen back into conflict.  This has resulted in extraordinary pressure on Yemen’s economy and has derailed hard-won Government progress on balancing its budget.  The strikes have deprived Yemen of the tens of millions of dollars of hard currency it needs every month to import food and fuel, he said.  Iran continues to send a steady flow of weapons to the Houthis, he said, adding that, 10 days ago, his country intercepted a dhow carrying thousands of AK‑47s from that country to the Houthis.  Stressing the importance of a political agreement, he said that only the people of Yemen must manage how the country’s resources are used.  Welcoming the restraint of Yemen’s Government and its continued commitment to peace, he said its support for elements of the truce demonstrates its commitment to Yemenis.  Also welcoming the establishment of a political negotiating team and expressing concern about access constraints on humanitarian‑aid operations, he expressed support for efforts to address these challenges. Hans Grundberg, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, said that, despite the stable situation in that country, military activity around front lines — including along the Saudi-Yemeni border — was recorded.  Such activity coupled with negative rhetoric can create a situation where a simple miscalculation could reignite the cycle of violence, he warned. MARTIN GRIFFITHS, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said he is hopeful that a decisive turn in the conflict remains possible.  However, he voiced concern that 2023 will be another extremely difficult year for Yemenis, declaring:  “Humanitarian needs remain alarmingly high, as the country’s economy continues to weaken and basic services hang by a thread.”  He further stressed that people’s access to humanitarian assistance is being impeded, as aid agencies are forced to contend with an increasingly challenging operating environment and funding landscape.  In 2023, an estimated 21.6 million people across Yemen will need humanitarian assistance and protection services.  While staggering, this figure does not truly convey the reality or extent of people’s suffering.  “It does not relay the impossible choices parents make as they struggle to feed their children.  It does not tell us the story of those families whose hopes of returning home are fading with each passing year.  And it does not reflect the fear and risk that people face — especially women and girls — while doing simple activities, like fetching water or walking to school.” The security situation in Yemen also remains extremely difficult for humanitarians.  In 2022, aid agencies reported almost 150 incidents of violence against their personnel, assets and facilities, most of them taking place in Government-controlled areas.  Just in December 2022, the office of a humanitarian non-governmental organization was attacked in Aden, causing damage to the office’s facilities.  Two United Nations staff also remain detained in Sana’a after 14 months, and another five are still missing after being kidnapped in Abyan almost a year ago, he recalled.  The trends of increasing interference, restrictions and violence simply cannot continue, he stressed, adding that aid workers — including female Yemeni aid workers — must be able to carry out their work safely and without arbitrary restrictions.  Against this backdrop, he appealed to all parties to the conflict to facilitate the safe and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief to all civilians in need, and to protect humanitarian personnel, in line with their obligations under international humanitarian law.  Noting that “even a small deterioration in Yemen’s economy can have major ripple effects for millions of people”, he urged the parties to do everything possible to avoid any actions that could further destabilize the economy.  He expressed full support to the Special Envoy’s team and all Member States that support his Yemeni-led search for peace. “Humanitarian needs remain alarmingly high, as the country’s economy continues to weaken and basic services hang by a thread,” said United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, sounding alarm that 2023 will be another extremely difficult year for Yemenis.  An estimated 21.6 million people across Yemen will need humanitarian assistance in 2023, he continued, warning against an increasingly challenging operating environment of aid agencies. ALBANA DAUTLLARI (Albania) voiced deep regret that the Council’s appeal to renew the truce in Yemen has not been heard by all.  The destructive behaviour of the Houthis and their unreasonable demands are hampering the renewal of the truce, she said, calling on the Houthis to extend the truce and reach a durable ceasefire to allow for a lasting political solution.  She appreciated the efforts of Saudi Arabia and Oman, as well as the Government of Yemen, to renew the truce, fully supporting the efforts of the Special Envoy to bring the parties together and find a lasting solution.  “The prolongation of pain and suffering of Yemeni people is unacceptable,” she asserted, calling on the parties — especially the Houthis — to end the hostilities and allow humanitarian workers to deliver life-saving aid to the people in dire need.  Further, she condemned all constraints on humanitarian workers to fulfil their vital mission and called on the Houthis to end discriminatory practices against women.  There are 12 million children in Yemen in need of humanitarian assistance, she said, describing any attempt to prevent humanitarian aid to children as inhumane.  She also condemned terrorist attacks by the Houthis against international maritime shipping.  Expressing concern about the violation of the arms embargo by the Houthis, she said the recent seizure of smuggled rifles from Iran to Yemen is a reminder of Iran’s activity in the region and the determination of the Houthis to prolong the conflict. Meanwhile, the representative of the Russian Federation said the absence of acute military escalation demonstrates the broad inclination of the Yemen-leading forces towards the renewal of the truce.  Urging the international community to demonstrate “maximum restraint” and not allow any provocation — particularly a military one — which could lead to a catastrophe, he called for an impartial negotiation process. MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) expressed concern about the end of the truce and the disruption of the political track due to the procrastination of the Houthis.  Welcoming all diplomatic efforts aimed at reaching a permanent ceasefire agreement and implementing additional economic and humanitarian confidence-building measures, he commended the positive position of the Presidential Leadership Council and the role played by Saudi Arabia and Oman.  Underscoring that security and stability in Yemen requires the Houthi militia to stop its terrorist activities, he said the Council must take a stronger stance to discourage them from military escalation.  The Council must enforce the arms embargo imposed on them, he said, noting violations to that, including a number of seized shipments in transit to the Houthis that contained weapons, ammunition and explosive materials.  Any aggression by the Houthis to the neighbouring countries will be met with a firm response by the Arab coalition, he cautioned, also calling on the group to stop its economic war and end the restrictions imposed against humanitarian workers, particularly women.  His country will continue its humanitarian efforts to advance the Yemeni economy and improve health, education throughout Yemen. HERNÁN PÉREZ LOOSE (Ecuador) condemned the acts of violence perpetrated by the Houthis during the last quarter of 2022, which endangered the lives and safety of United Nations personnel and of civilians, including children.  He also condemned the illicit trafficking of arms and attacks on seaports and strategic oil infrastructure, and additionally, called for the release of arbitrarily detained humanitarian personnel and political prisoners.  On measures implemented by the Houthis to impede women’s free movement, he underscored that — as discussed at length in recent Council meetings — policies that undermine the fundamental rights of women erode the possibility of building inclusive, peaceful societies.  Also expressing concern over the fact that children continue to be killed and maimed by explosive remnants of war, he urged an increase in demining efforts.  He went on to recall that, while the truce agreement was in force, tensions eased and the civilian population experienced the greatest period of calm in the eight years of conflict.  He therefore encouraged the Special Envoy to facilitate negotiations between the Houthis and the Yemeni Government aimed at renewing the truce for a further six months. ABDULLAH ALI FADHEL AL-SAADI (Yemen), noting that more than three months have passed since the Houthi militia rejected an extension of the truce, emphasized that the Government continues to mitigate suffering by facilitating commercial flights to and from Sana’a and by allowing fuel ships to reach the port of Hudaydah.  Meanwhile, the Houthis are impeding the work of financial institutions, creating a parallel economy by prohibiting circulation of the national currency, rejecting peace and targeting civilians and displaced persons.  While welcoming Council unity in condemning Houthi terrorism, he underscored that “statements are no longer enough”.  The organ must demonstrate a greater commitment to peace in Yemen by using all possible tools to apply pressure on the militia, which is being supported by the Iranian regime.  Peace cannot be achieved, however, without a serious partner that abandons war, believes in equal rights for all Yemenis and renounces violence as a means to impose political interests.  As the militia demonstrates that it has no desire for peace, the Council must find a new approach to facilitate peace in Yemen. Also speaking today were representatives of the United Kingdom, Gabon, Ghana, Malta, Brazil, Albania, United Arab Emirates, France, Mozambique, Switzerland and Japan. JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) welcomed efforts by all parties to build upon the relative peace currently prevailing in Yemen, while noting that the humanitarian situation remains dire and calling for efforts to address the long‑term drivers of the crisis.  “The Houthi block on oil exports has plunged the Government […] into dire economic straits,” he said, urging the international community to mitigate those impacts and support Yemen’s Government.  Pointing to the launch of the United Nations humanitarian response plan later in January, he encouraged all donors, current or prospective, to stay committed to alleviating the suffering of Yemenis.  He further called on authorities in the country’s north and south to provide unfettered humanitarian access, noting that the marham requirements outlined by the Emergency Relief Coordinator do “the very opposite”, and reiterated concerns about delays in the operation to salvage the Safer oil tanker. Briefings HANS GRUNDBERG, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, noting his fruitful discussions with the President of that country’s Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad al-Alimi, as well as with regional stakeholders, said that he is hopeful about building on these discussions so that 2023 delivers a more peaceful and prosperous future for Yemen.  The overall military situation in that country has remained stable, with no major escalation, he said, noting that there was some military activity around the front lines, including along the Saudi-Yemeni border.  Calling on the parties to respect international humanitarian law, he said that military activity combined with negative rhetoric can create a situation where a simple miscalculation could reignite the cycle of violence.  Noting the movement of fuel ships and flights since the truce first came into force on 2 April 2022, he welcomed the continuation of such measures beyond the formal expiration of the truce on 2 October 2022. There is a possibility to change the trajectory of the conflict, he said, highlighting the importance of resuming a political process and a nationwide ceasefire.  Elaborating on mediation efforts, he pointed to his fruitful discussions with the President of that country’s Presidential Leadership Council, Rashad al-Alimi.  He also said he has been in continued contact with the parties, as well as with regional countries, recalling that discussions have focused on securing agreements on military de-escalation, measures to prevent economic deterioration and mitigation of the impact of the conflict on civilians. In the ensuing discussion, delegates highlighted the need for an inclusive Yemeni-led process under United Nations auspices, with the representative of the United States urging parties to reach a new expanded truce agreement.  The Houthis’ repeated terrorist attacks on Yemen’s ports and international shipping are threatening to plunge the county back into conflict.  This has resulted in extraordinary pressure on Yemen’s economy and has derailed hard-won Government progress on balancing its budget, he lamented. Ms. NEBES-MOREIRA (Brazil), recalling the positive impact of the April 2022 ceasefire agreement between the Yemeni Government and the Houthi militia, said that, even after its regrettable formal expiry in October 2022, the agreement continues to benefit the long-suffering Yemeni population.  Its enduring effects represent a unique window of opportunity for political settlement that the parties should not overlook, she underscored.  Wasting such opportunity would worsen the population’s suffering as, even in the absence of large-scale hostilities, the status quo hinders development and prolongs the dire humanitarian crisis in the country.  According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, approximately 20 million people will require humanitarian assistance in 2023, and she urged all parties to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and refrain from measures undermining the provision of such aid.  Further, she called on the belligerent parties to show the necessary flexibility and to engage constructively in meaningful dialogue “to pave the way for a future of peace, stability and development in Yemen”. Underscoring that sovereignty issues can only be resolved through an intra-Yemeni dialogue, he said it must include a variety of Yemeni stakeholders, including women’s groups and civil society.  The negotiation agenda should not be solely determined by the warring sides, he said, adding that the situation remains complex and fluid.  There are sequencing challenges, as well as concerns around guarantees for all sides, he said, adding that, without concrete actionable steps, there will be challenges and delays in the implementation phase.  Highlighting the need for an inclusive Yemeni-led process under United Nations auspices, he urged the parties to make the most of the space for dialogue provided by the absence of large-scale fighting.  Expressing gratitude for the Security Council’s support, he called it a clear signal of the international community’s commitment to Yemen. Attempted interference is prevalent at every stage of aid delivery — particularly in Houthi-controlled areas — where authorities often try to restrict the travel of aid workers, he said, drawing attention to the imposition of strict “mahram” requirements, which are severing humanitarian access to Yemen’s most vulnerable people.  “With every day that passes without a solution, this issue is becoming more acute and more urgent,” he asserted. The meeting began at 10:02 a.m. and ended at 11:48 a.m.

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