Yemen: a focus on the humanitarian emergency

Yemen - Remarks to the press by M. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations - 8 November 2017.

in English and in French

"All obstacles to humanitarian assistance must therefore be removed. This is a matter of emergency given the situation in this country that we all know.", François Delattre, 8 november 2017


We are about to hear about Mark Lowcock [the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs] about the situation in Yemen and in this difficult situation, there are two messages I wanted to underscore.

The first is that we, as France, urge all parties to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to all governorates in the country, through all of Yemen’s ports and airports, most importantly Hodeidah port and Sanaa airport.

All obstacles to humanitarian assistance must therefore be removed. This is a matter of emergency given the situation in this country that we all know. And the basis of our position remains the same : there can be no military solution in Yemen and the only solution is a political one. So that’s the first point with respect to the humanitarian access, and especially the ports and airports, all relevant ports and airports.

The second thing I would like to say is that we take the recent missile launch against Riyad extremely seriously. This is the reason why French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has condemned in the strongest terms the launch, as soon as Sunday, reaffirming France’s full support to the security of Saudi Arabia, confronted with the proliferation of ballistic threat in the region in particular.

And in the same veine, we are in close contact with our American friends, in particular, with respect to the origin of the launch and the information that they have in this regard. So these are the two keys messages I wanted to pass.

Q: Ambassador, do you think the Council can come together and issue a statement requesting that the blocade be lifted?

First things first, we are going to listen to Mark Lowcock, who went to Yemen recently for a very important mission and based on this we will see whether we have a common appreciation, a common assessment of the situation.

Q: What’s the role of the envoy, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed: was he asked to be at this meeting? Should he be involved in trying to resolve this between the various parties?

This meeting will focus on the humanitarian emergency. Now, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed is in our view doing a very good job to try to boost the political process and of course the two are intertwined. And we all know that the only durable and real answer to this humanitarian crisis is political and that’s why we are walking so to speak on the two legs and we as France are strongly supporting Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed’s efforts in this respect.

Q: Ambassador, can you update us on Jim? Whether there has been progress on trying to extend it? Do you think it’s going to happen?

By definition there is still hope. There is still hope because the stakes are simply too high. As I said, what is at stake here is not only the situation in Syria, it’s really about the very existence of the JIM and by extension the very future of the chemical non-proliferation regime, and by extension the solidity of all the non-proliferation regimes that we patiently built together over the last decades. That’s what is at stake here. And that’s why we need to do our best efforts to support the renewal of the JIM. In this respect, as I said, we support the American draft and we really hope that the Russians and others, that all the members of the Security Council can join and thus reaffirm their strong common commitment to the shared priority of non-proliferation. Political games, or gains, simply cannot influence such an important and existential cause, that the Security Council has to bring together, beyond our differences. This is simply too important.

Q: Sur le Yémen, vous demandez à toutes les parties de libérer les accès humanitaires, pourquoi vous ne citez pas l’Arabie saoudite, qui est à l’origine du blocus ?

Comme je l’ai dit très clairement à l’instant, nous appelons toutes les parties au Yémen à permettre un accès humanitaire rapide, sûr et sans entraves dans l’ensemble du territoire du pays, à travers l’ensemble de ses ports et aéroports, à commencer par le port d’Hodeida et l’aéroport de Sanaa. Il s’agit d’une exigence humanitaire, dans la situation que nous connaissons et qui est extrêmement grave pour les populations affectées. Et comme je le disais à l’instant, cette urgence humanitaire passe aussi par un effort tout particulier sur le terrain politique en soutien aux efforts de Cheikh Ahmed, l’envoyé spécial du Secrétaire général, pour redonner un nouvel élan à ce processus politique sans lequel il n’y aura pas de réponse durable à la crise humanitaire. C’est ce que je disais à l’instant sur le fait que nous devions marcher sur les deux jambes, celle de l’humanitaire qui est une urgence absolue et celle de la relance d’un processus politique crédible.

Dernière modification : 31/07/2018

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