Remarks to the press by Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, following the UN Security Council consultations on the situation in Yemen
V.Churkin: Well, it has been a very difficult conversation, because the talks broke down, but Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, Special Representative of the Secretary‑General for Yemen, is an eternal optimist and a very hard worker. He is continuing his efforts. In fact, he reassured us that his contacts are going to continue and he is going to work towards a comprehensive political settlement.
There is some misunderstanding, which I think was clear in the course of those discussions, because many, including us, received the news from Kuwait as him having put on the table a proposal which is dealing only with the military aspect of the situation, which emphasizes the need for the Houthis and the Saleh people to lay down arms, to withdraw from the cities etc. and the political aspect was missing. It did not come as the surprise to us in that context that the Houthis and Saleh walked away from that proposal. There were reports that this is another breakdown in the talks, but again he reassured us that his idea is to work towards a comprehensive settlement, that so far he has not made the political part of the package public, maybe he will after additional contacts with both sides. I come away a little bit reassured that we continue to be on track towards a political settlement. But let me tell you – it is extremely upsetting that after 16 month of war there are still serious problems and sometimes one gets the feeling that one or the other party is not really in the mood of coming to a political solution which is very regrettable because, as we were told today, the humanitarian costs of the war are enormous and it’s a forgotten war, overshadowed by other conflicts in the region, but the suffering of the people can’t be compared with anything else we are talking about in the Security Council.
Q: Is there any outcome from the Security Council about Yemen?
V.Churkin: Well I hope there will be. We proposed a press statement. The British delegation proposed some press elements but we are seeing again something which unfortunately we have seen in the past weeks in the Security Council when we try to produce something - one or another delegation is trying to include some particular element to upset the balance of the statement, to criticize one party or to praise another party and if they continue with that — I was fed up, so I’m leaving the Council. I wish them well in continuing that discussion which I think is irresponsible because the Council was almost ready to make a joint pronouncement in support of the political process before this kind of a selfish element came in, as we’ve seen before, as I mentioned in the past few weeks. I’m curious what the eventual outcome is going to be. I would not be surprised if there will not be any outcome.
Q: On Syria, do you have any hope for UNGA to help progress in the talks in Geneva? Before September?
V.Churkin: Of course I do, but first of all, the talks must be convened.
Q: Based on?
V.Churkin: Staffan de Mistura has been working hard, has produced some papers, and we think that those papers need to be discussed by the parties, but the parties need to come together, to sit at the same table and to start being engaged in a serious conversation. So, if that were to happen, then I think after all the years of hard work and efforts by the international community, there could be a result.