Yemen : finding a comprehensive and inclusive political solution is crucial [fr]
STATEMENT BY M. NICOLAS DE RIVIERE,
PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF FRANCE TO THE UNITED NATIONS
TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL
(Translation from French)
New York, 10 September 2021
I would like to thank Mr. Grundberg, Ms. Eltahir Mudawi and Ms. Al Qadhi for their interventions.
The conflict in Yemen has been going on for 7 years. On the ground, there is no prospect of an end to the crisis.
We have been repeating since the beginning of the conflict that the military option will lead nowhere. The reality on the ground reminds us of this every day: the clashes continue, but the situation remains deadlocked.
Your appointment, Mr. Special Envoy, represents an opportunity to relaunch the peace process, which is currently stalled.
The parameters required to end the crisis are well known: a comprehensive ceasefire, the reopening of Sana’a airport and the port of Hodeida, and negotiations between the different actors to find a comprehensive and inclusive political solution.
As a prerequisite, it is imperative that the Houthis stop their unacceptable actions, both in the Marib area and against Saudi territory. We condemn them in the strongest terms, as well as their refusal to allow the UN inspection mission access to SAFER. The blackmail by the Houthis is unacceptable. It is essential that they allow the UN inspection mission access immediately and without preconditions, otherwise they will be responsible for a major environmental disaster.
I would also like to reiterate France’s commitment to the territorial integrity of Yemen. Yemen must remain unified; its sovereignty depends on it. We are concerned about the tensions in the South and call for the return of the Yemeni government to Aden.
The stalemate in the conflict will lead to the fragmentation of the country, which will above all play into the hands of extremism and terrorism.
For seven years now, the Yemeni people have suffered the consequences of the absence of a political solution.
The status quo on the ground has dramatic consequences on the population: it is they who pay the price of the political stalemate.
The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate: nearly 70% of the population needs humanitarian aid, i.e. 4 out of 5 children. Only half of the health infrastructure is operational.
We must intensify efforts to address the risk of large-scale famine and to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular by accelerating the vaccination campaign.
This includes ensuring full humanitarian access to all those in need: we call for the immediate removal of all bureaucratic obstacles in the country, particularly in the Houthi area.
The protection of civilians must remain an absolute imperative. Respect for international humanitarian law is an obligation that is incumbent on all and the perpetrators of violations must not go unpunished.
Furthermore, indiscriminate air strikes, which do not respect the principles of distinction, proportionality or precaution, must cease.
Madam President, France remains determined to support all efforts to resume a peace process in Yemen and in this the new Special Envoy can count on our full support.