NEW YORK – “We are absolutely committed to maintaining and accelerating humanitarian progress on the ground,” said H.E. Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the UAE to the UN, at a briefing to media at the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the UN on the humanitarian situation in Yemen hosted by H.E. Abdallah Al Mouallimi, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN, and also attended by H.E Ahmed Awad Binmubarak, Ambassador of the Republic of Yemen to the US and Permanent Representative to the UN, with H.E. Sultan Al Shamsi, UAE Assistant Minister of International Development, joining via conference call.
Highlighting the progress that the UN and other Coalition donors have made in Yemen, Ambassador Nusseibeh stated, “The number of people the UN is reaching has more than doubled from 3 million per month to 7 million per month. The Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan – by using the full UN system and working with more than 150 implementing partners – has shown how much can be achieved in a short period when the right funding and governance structures are in place.”
Earlier this year, the UAE contributed $465 million to the Yemen Humanitarian Response Plan, a landmark chapter for humanitarian response in the country. This was part of the UAE’s long-standing support in Yemen, where it has contributed nearly $4 billion in aid since 2015.
Ambassador Nusseibeh reiterated that the Arab Coalition’s military and humanitarian operations in Hodeidah are fully integrated. To that end, she outlined five elements of the Coalition’s humanitarian plan for Hodeidah and Yemen more broadly, including delivery of aid via air, land, and sea bridges; restoration of the Hodeidah port in case of Houthi damage; increase of country-wide aid flows through alternative channels in case the port is compromised; secure and safe passage for civilians out of conflict areas; and deconfliction to make areas safe for civilians and humanitarian workers.
She condemned the Houthis’ deliberate actions to worsen the humanitarian situation and exacerbate the conflict by damaging water systems to spur cholera, indiscriminately placing landmines, prepositioning of sea mines and explosive devices around Hodeidah port, and moving fighters and weapons into residential neighborhoods. “We are facing a group that is armed by Iran and that has already vowed to take a scorched earth approach no matter the cost. A group that comprises just 3 percent of the Yemeni population is holding the entire country of 27 million hostage at gunpoint,” stated Ambassador Nusseibeh about the Houthis.
She emphasized that the Arab Coalition takes its humanitarian commitments very seriously, as well as its commitment to international humanitarian law, and highlighted the need for these commitments to be upheld by all parties to the conflict. “I ask that the international community holds Houthi militia to the same standards. The people of Yemen deserve all parties’ respect and support as the legitimate government attempts to liberate the country from the intolerable occupation and suffering imposed by the Houthis.”
Renewing the UAE’s support for Martin Griffith’s mediation efforts, Ambassador Nusseibeh stated, “We continue to believe that this conflict can only be concluded with a Yemeni-led and Yemeni-owned political solution under UN auspices.”