Yemen: The UNMHA presence on the ground is decisive [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 18 July 2019
I thank Special Envoy Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Lowcock and World Food Programme Executive Director Beasley for their briefings.
First of all, I would like to strongly reaffirm France’s full support for the efforts of Special Envoy Martin Griffiths and Lieutenant General Lollesgaard. I reiterate France’s full confidence in them.
As we have just heard, after weeks of deadlock, the parties managed to meet again at the beginning of the week within the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) and agree on the general principles for implementing the first and second phases of the Hudaydah agreement on the ground. This is an encouraging step, and we welcome the resumption of talks. However, that is only the first step. The parties must now implement the agreed points quickly and concretely and remain engaged in good faith within the RCC and with the Special Envoy.
While we have just unanimously renewed the mandate of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hudaydah Agreement for six months (resolution 2481 (2019)), France reiterates its full support for the Mission. Its presence on the ground is crucial for observing and facilitating redeployment, as provided for under resolution 2452 (2019), but also for enabling the parties to rebuild trust. The increasing operationalization of the force is a good thing, and we call on the United Nations to continue to deploy its full capabilities on the ground. It is the responsibility of the parties to ensure their safety and free movement.
The efforts of the Special Envoy are all the more important given the regional security situation, which recently began to deteriorate. The current tensions in the Gulf are extremely worrying. They could have an impact on the situation in Yemen and the readiness of the parties to move forward in their discussions for the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement and, beyond that, to find a political solution to the current conflict.
France has been very clear: we strongly condemned the most recent attacks perpetrated and claimed by the Houthis, including those on the airport at Abha, which have already resulted in one death and left dozens wounded. These attacks are unacceptable and must stop. We therefore call on all parties to refrain from any escalation that could further destabilize the region and jeopardize the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement in all its dimensions and the resumption of discussions for a peaceful solution. In this regard, the military redeployment announced by the authorities of the United Arab Emirates, in particular in Al-Hudaydah, could provide an opportunity for de-escalation. We hope that this decision could be used to facilitate a political solution to the crisis by all parties.
We remain very concerned about the continuing deterioration of the humanitarian and security situation. It is more essential than ever to protect civilians, including women and children, as they are particularly vulnerable. Nearly 2 million of them suffer from severe acute malnutrition.
I wish to reiterate our full support for the humanitarian actors and their efforts in this difficult context. They too must be protected. Commercial and humanitarian access, which must be guaranteed, has been further hampered by the closure of the road between Aden and Sana’a, but also by other obstructions, namely, the Houthis, which is unacceptable at a time when, as Mr. Beasley has just described it, the country is still at risk of starvation. We therefore call on the parties to make every effort to facilitate the implementation of the humanitarian response plan and ensure that action is taken in full respect of the principles of neutrality, independence, impartiality and humanity.
I will conclude by emphasizing that we must not lose sight of the fact that our collective goal is to find a political solution to the current conflict. The Stockholm Agreement is a first step in facilitating the establishment of trust between the parties. That is why achieving results in its implementation will help contribute to the resumption of political discussions.
A military solution cannot and must not be an option. Relaunching these discussions to reach a comprehensive and inclusive political agreement, taking into account the diversity of Yemeni actors, including women and civil society representatives, is the only real prospect for putting an end to the conflict and the humanitarian crisis. The mobilization and unity of the Security Council is our greatest asset when it comes to moving forward on this difficult path, but it is the only option for restoring the peace to which the Yemeni people aspire.