Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Vladimir Safronkov at the UN Security Council Meeting on the Situation in Yemen
We thank Special Envoy Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General Mark Lowcock, and our distinguished briefers: UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore for her alarming assessment and Permanent Representative of Peru Gustavo Meza-Cuadra for organizing an important regional agenda for the Sanctions Committee. Russia welcomes progress achieved by Special Envoy Griffiths and his UN team on driving the sides in Yemen at implementing the Stockholm Agreement. We highlight the professional work of General M. Lollesgaard.
The launch of the first stage of redeployment of armed forces from ports of Hodeidah, Saleef and Ras Isa is a most important step in implementing a broader plan to disengage the opposing sides. We understand that it is only the beginning. The main body of work lies ahead. However, it is already clear that first results were achieved only thanks to the filigree diplomacy of the UN mediation and assistance of external stakeholders that rests upon respect for all the protagonists, search for compromise, and professional understanding of concerns of all sides. The strategic task remains unchanged: to launch a full-fledged political process to discuss political parameters of an all-encompassing settlement. We believe there opens a window of opportunity for implementation of other aspects of the Stockholm Agreement, including prisoner exchange and de-escalation in Taiz and other areas.
We are convinced that continued deployment of a UN mission in support of the Hodeidah agreement would facilitate settlement in this city and help stabilize the situation in Yemen at large. We call upon all sides to engage in solving this issue. Unbiased UN mediation is fundamental, however it can be a success only given it rests upon good will of the sides, and their commitment to stabilize the situation in their country. It is particularly important to avoid any provocative steps that obscure prospects of peaceful settlement and by no means assist the UN efforts. The task to consolidate approaches of external players and parties to conflict based on the search for a shared solution is urgent as never before.
We call upon the Members of the Council to maintain collective efforts that seek to bring the conflict back to the political track, ensure universal ceasefire and provide aid to the people of Yemen. What is required is non-stop work with all the parties, all the influential stakeholders. Russia will continue providing assistance to the UN mediation in resolving contradictions in Yemen.
We highly commend the courageous and dedicated work of UN humanitarian officers in Yemen and other hotspots of crisis. Reports by Mr.Lowcock and Ms.Fore prove that the humanitarian situation in the country remains depressing. We regret to say this, but the country has plunged in a deep humanitarian disaster that inflicts unspeakable suffering on the civil population. The infrastructure lies in ruins. It is hard to conceive that a meaningless war waged in XXI century robbed Yemenis, including women and children, of opportunities to receive medicines they need, get basic social protection services; that the war made them starve and require basic assistance.
It is thanks to the dedicated work of the UN humanitarians that we managed to avoid a humanitarian collapse in the country. As of now, priority is to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the Yemenis. We are steadily engaged in this. Let me highlight that humanitarian aid that comes to Yemen from abroad should be distributed on a non-discriminatory basis among the entire population in all the regions of the country, no matter who controls this or that particular area. This is crucial for both humanitarian problems, and future national reconciliation. However, it is self-evident that to overcome humanitarian problems would not be a cure-all. The solution is to be found exclusively at the political level. Surely, we have great expectations regarding the UN mediation and diplomacy. Mr.Griffiths, we will actively support your efforts.
We call upon the participants of the conflict in Yemen to stay reserved and ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to all regions of the country. Most importantly – we urge to cooperate with the UN mediation and not to hinder it. We also call to promptly abandon the indiscriminate use of force and stop damaging the oil infrastructure. However before pointing fingers at culprits, we need a professional and objective investigation.
In conclusion let me remind of our proposal to launch a package of confidence- and security-building measures for the Persian Gulf that would not only contribute to stabilization in this part of the globe but also help resolve the old and new crises, including the conflict in Yemen. We believe all countries of the region should participate in this process, including the Gulf States and Iran. We need positive assistance in launching this process; we need immediate, urgent de-escalation in this area of the world. It is only joint efforts and commitment to cooperation, not the confrontation, that will lead to establishing all-encompassing and indivisible security in the Middle East.
Thank you for the attention.