Yemen: a negotiated political settlement is the ultimate goal [fr]
Statement by Mr. François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council – 19 February 2019
First of all, I would like to thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Mr. Martin Griffiths, as well as the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock, for their very informative briefings and their exemplary dedication and that of their teams. I would like to revisit briefly the following three points.
First, after the adoption of two resolutions and the deployment on the ground of the United Nations Mission to Support the Hodeidah Agreement, the priority now is for the parties remain committed to the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. It is also essential that the parties ensure the safety and security of Mission personnel, as well as their free movement.
As we have been informed, tangible progress has already been made. In that regard, we welcome the agreement reached last weekend in the context of the Redeployment Coordination Committee chaired by Lieutenant General Lollesgaard, on the first phase of redeployment, as well as the ongoing discussions on the exchange of prisoners. These are encouraging steps that reduce the threat of a resumption of hostilities. Discussions should therefore continue so as to further bolster the progress made; the redeployment operations on the ground agreed this weekend should be launched; and we must move towards the second phase of the redeployment and exchange of prisoners. The goal is to strengthen trust among the parties and to make the process irreversible by creating a positive dynamic.
The situation in Al-Hudaydah, however, remains fragile, and military operations are continuing in the rest of the country. As we noted earlier, we remain concerned at these continuing operations as well as at the ongoing threat of ballistic transfers. The parties must continue to maintain an ever stronger engagement with the Special Envoy and with General Lollesgaard by playing a responsible and constructive role. Failing that, sanctions could be imposed against any individuals and entities obstructing the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement.
Secondly, as my British colleague reminded us, this progress should not make us forget to what extent the humanitarian situation remains worrisome. I can only echo what has just been stated so eloquently by the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs. The Agreement reached in Stockholm must lead to full access and to the immediate, secure and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian assistance and trade flows. The initial progress achieved with the lifting of bureaucratic obstacles must continue. It is urgent in particular to allow access to the Red Sea Mills, as has been mentioned, and to then reach as quickly as possible an agreement to ensure that the critically important route between Sana’a and Al-Hudaydah can be used by humanitarian actors.
The Stockholm Agreement must also make it possible to protect civilians — in particular women and children, who are often forced to leave their homes due to conflict, which makes them very vulnerable — as well as humanitarian personnel. Mark Lowcock underscored very clearly that it is vital to provide a financial response to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. France will announce once again this year a contribution to the humanitarian response plan. France also has announced that it will provide a contribution to the peace support facility that was presented in January in Berlin.
The Geneva conference will be an opportunity for the Council, regional actors and, more broadly, the entire international community to send a very strong signal of support to the Yemeni people.
Thirdly, and lastly, we should bear in mind that the conclusion of a negotiated political settlement is the ultimate goal. That is why it is crucial that we remain collectively mobilized in the process of supporting the efforts of the Special Envoy. Indeed, everything is interconnected. Without significant progress on the ground, prospects for future negotiations will become more remote. Consistent messages must be conveyed to Yemeni and regional actors, and we therefore encourage the Special Representative to continue to reach out to all the parties in order to continue making progress in the dynamic under way.
Relaunching the discussions in a comprehensive political framework is the only path towards a lasting solution to the conflict in Yemen that will make it possible to ease the humanitarian suffering of the Yemeni people. We fully support the efforts of the Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, and call on all parties to perpetuate and translate into action the positive momentum created by the Stockholm negotiations.
On the demanding path towards peace in Yemen, the unity of the Security Council is our most valuable asset. This is not the case, as we know, in all crises — to put it very diplomatically — so let us take advantage of this unity as leverage to help find a political solution, which today, in spite of the magnitude of the difficulties faced, is within reach.