The situation in Yemen is very alarming [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 17 June 2019
I would like to begin by warmly thanking Mr. Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen; Mr. Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator; and Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, for their important briefings. We fully support them.
I would like to firmly reiterate France’s full support for the tireless efforts of Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and Lieutenant General Lollesgaard. We all pledged our support in the Council’s latest press statement concerning Yemen (SC/13834). Mr. Griffiths has our full support and trust.
It is clear today that progress is slow — too slow — and that much remains to be done.
The initial redeployment of forces in the ports of Al-Hudaydah, Saleef and Ras Isa began last month. It is imperative that all parties pursue and accelerate their efforts. Lieutenant General Lollesgaard was recently on site to verify the redeployment. We again call on the parties to fully implement the Stockholm Agreement, in particular both phases of the planned redeployment and remain fully engaged, in good faith, in the Redeployment Coordination Committee and with the Special Envoy. That is obviously a crucial point.
In that regard, we reiterate our support for the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement, whose presence on the ground is key for observing and facilitating redeployment, in line with resolution 2452 (2019). Strengthening United Nations presence on the ground is vital. It is important in particular for all observers provided for in the Mission mandate to be on the ground as soon as possible and for the various agencies of the United Nations concerned to intensify their efforts, in line with the Stockholm Agreement. As has been mentioned, it is up to the parties to ensure their safety and free movement. The efforts of the Special Envoy are even more vital in the context of the recent deterioration of the regional security situation. Yemen is both a reflection of and one of the factors of the particularly worrisome regional instability.
The recent attack for which the Houthis claimed responsibility, targeting the Abha airport in Saudi Arabia and injuring more than 20 civilians, including children, is unacceptable. We firmly condemn that attack. Since then, the Houthis have also claimed responsibility for other drone strikes, some of which were intercepted by Saudi Arabia. Such attacks must end, as must the transfer of weapons, including ballistic weapons, to State and non-State actors in the region. Parties must refrain from any escalation that serves only to jeopardize the Stockholm Agreement, threaten the resumptions of talks that would lead to a political solution and further destabilize the region.
The relative respect for the ceasefire in Al-Hudaydah should not make us lose sight of the extreme gravity of the humanitarian situation, as Mark Lowcock and David Beasley just recalled. We are deeply concerned about the deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation. As tensions continue to rise in Yemen and the region, it is crucial now more than ever to protect civilians, including women and children, who are particularly vulnerable. More than 2 million children suffer from acute malnutrition. We call on all parties to do their utmost to protect children and ensure that they receive the assistance they so urgently need.
Echoing what previous speakers have underlined, especially my colleagues from the United Kingdom and Germany, I would like to reaffirm France’s full support to humanitarian actors for their outstanding and essential efforts in this particularly difficult context. They too must be protected. Commercial and humanitarian access, which must be ensured, has been further complicated and hampered by the closure of the road between Aden and Sana’a. The floods have also required an urgent humanitarian response, and we welcome the work undertaken in that regard. At a time when, as Mr. Beasley described, the entire country is at risk of starvation, the parties must do everything possible to facilitate the implementation of the humanitarian response plan.
Finally, given the immense challenges and difficulties that lie ahead, it is important not to forget the priority objective to be achieved, namely, the relaunching of the political process as soon as possible. We all know that that is the only way forward. The initial results obtained in Al-Hudaydah can help to recreate a positive momentum towards a political solution. The military solution cannot, and must not, be an option.
Resuming the talks on a comprehensive and inclusive political agreement that takes into account the various Yemeni actors, including women and civil society representatives, is the only real prospect for putting an end to the conflict and the humanitarian crisis. At a time when the situation in Yemen is clearly very alarming, the Council must put its full weight behind bringing an end to this terrible war and maintaining the momentum initiated in Stockholm. Our mobilization and unity are our best asset for moving forward on this difficult path, which is the only way to restore the peace to which the Yemenis aspire.