France deplore the ongoing escalation in northern Yemen [fr]
Statement by Ms Anne Gueguen, Deputy Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 12 March 2020
I, too, thank the Special Envoy and the Acting Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs for their briefings and I reiterate to them France’s full support. The violence that they described, the risk of an increasing military escalation and the humanitarian repercussions are a source of great concern. We fully support their call for de-escalation and we reiterate that only a comprehensive and inclusive political solution can lead to a way out of the crisis in Yemen.
We deplore the ongoing escalation in northern Yemen. It seriously jeopardizes the de-escalation efforts made to date. For that reason, we call on the parties to put an end to it without delay and to choose the path of negotiation. The direct contacts and mediation undertaken by the Special Envoy should make it possible to achieve a ceasefire as soon as possible, in particular in Al-Jawf and Ma’rib.
In the south, the Riyadh agreement, which we welcomed, must be fully and rapidly implemented.
Beyond that, efforts towards a comprehensive political agreement that is fully representative of all Yemenis must continue under the aegis of the Special Envoy, whose role is key in coordinating all efforts. The talks must resume without preconditions.
Moreover, as we continue to reiterate at every meeting, respect for international humanitarian law is non-negotiable: it is binding on all. The protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel, as well as civilian infrastructure, must be the top priority. Children accounted for a quarter of civilian casualties in 2019, which is an increase over the previous year. That development is of great concern. All parties are obliged to respect international humanitarian law.
With regard to humanitarian access, much progress is still needed to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access, including to enable the United Nations to assess the needs. In addition, it is essential that the United Nations has access to the FSO SAFER oil tanker, which poses a grave potential threat to the environment. An oil leak would have a devastating impact on the entire region. We also share the concern about the structural collapse of the economy and its consequences.
France will continue to work tirelessly for a political solution in Yemen and, more broadly, for an easing of tensions in the region. Our authorities are fully mobilized and committed to that end.
Finally, as it is our last meeting in the presence of Ambassador Karen Pierce, I, too, would like to extend to her the warm congratulations, recognition and gratitude of the Permanent Representative of France. In my personal capacity, I would also like to convey to her my admiration. She is an exemplary individual, a model diplomat and a source of inspiration. I wish her the very best and every success in the new prestigious duties that await her.