Yemen : redoubling our efforts in the face of the catastrophic humanitarian situation [fr]
Statement by Mr. Nicolas de Rivière, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations
Security Council - 16 September 2019
We firmly condemn Saturday’s attacks on the oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais.
Such actions can only exacerbate tensions and the risk of conflict in the region and undermine political efforts to resolve the crisis. They absolutely must end.
I thank the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs for their briefings.
1/ In the face of the catastrophic humanitarian situation, we must redouble our efforts.
The intensification of fighting continues to come at a high cost for the population in all governorates of Yemen. All parties must ensure compliance with international humanitarian law. In that connection, I recall two absolute priorities:
i) the protection of civilians, including humanitarian and medical personnel,
ii) and guaranteed immediate, safe and unhindered humanitarian access. Four and a half million people are unable to receive assistance due to restrictions imposed by the parties to the conflict. New constraints imposed by the Houthis on food aid supply chains could further aggravate the situation.
Given the fact that more than 80 per cent of the Yemeni population is dependent on humanitarian aid, this aid must not be allowed to decline at any cost. The World Food Programme needs $663 million for the next six months, two-thirds of which before the end of the year. We support the appeal of the Under-Secretary-General for pledges to be honoured as soon as possible or for new contributions to be made to the United Nations humanitarian response plan. We commend those States that have indicated their intention to respond to this call.
The fight against impunity is essential, including to achieving lasting peace. France calls on the parties to conduct transparent, independent, impartial and credible investigations and to cooperate with international mechanisms. France takes note of the conclusions of the report of the Group of Eminent International and Regional Experts on Yemen. It is important for the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict to be able to adopt conclusions.
2/ Only a political solution will bring a lasting end to the crisis in Yemen and the suffering of the population. With every passing day, it becomes more urgent to find that solution, as reinforced by the recent tensions in the south of the country.
Discussions to reach a comprehensive political agreement must therefore resume without delay or preconditions and on a more inclusive basis. The parties to the Stockholm Agreement must pursue their implementation efforts. But the progress expected in Al-Hudaydah should not be a prerequisite for the resumption of discussions to reach that comprehensive political solution. We can wait no longer.
France encourages the parties to take steps in that direction and reiterates its support for the efforts of the Special Envoy.
In addition, France stands ready to promote de-escalation. A commitment by the parties to the conflict to reducing the level of tensions would be a first step towards resuming discussions on a political solution. The partial withdrawal of the forces of the United Arab Emirates on the ground is a step in the right direction in that regard.