Delivered by H.E. Ambassador Mohamed Abushahab, Deputy Permanent Representative
Check against delivery.
I thank Mr. Hans Grundberg and Ms. Joyce Msuya for their thorough briefings on the latest developments in Yemen. We also welcome the participation of Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in this meeting.
We meet today while Yemen is at a critical juncture. The Houthis, unfortunately, rejected the Special Envoy’s proposals to extend the truce, which would have paved the way for resuming negotiations. Their rejection is neither surprising nor unusual. This is not the first time they have tried to obstruct international efforts aimed at reaching a peaceful solution to end the Yemeni crisis – an aim we have never stopped supporting or calling for.
Over the past eight years, the Houthis have chosen the path of war and destruction, in disregard of the suffering of Yemenis and their national interests. This time, they have not only refused to renew the truce, but they have also issued threats indicating that they will attack civilian facilities in Yemen and in neighboring countries as well as international maritime navigation and global oil supplies in transit from the Red Sea and Bab al-Mandab. According to their claims, these waterways are getting more dangerous after they were able to acquire new naval weapons. These developments are clear evidence of the Houthis’ intransigence and their insistence on continuing their aggressive approach, which threatens regional and international security.
The history of this conflict has removed any doubt as to the identity of the obstructing party, and it has revealed the truth behind the weak pretexts for its refusal to abide by its commitments to end this war. If the Houthi militia wants peace as it claims, it must return to the truce and implement its obligations under previous agreements. If it wants to alleviate the suffering of civilians, it must lift the siege imposed on the city of Taiz and release the detainees. If it truly seeks to pay the salaries and pensions of public sector employees, it must use the revenue from the port of Hodeidah towards the salaries of civil servants in accordance with the Stockholm Agreement. If it truly cared about the future of Yemen, it must stop systematically recruiting children and pushing them into fighting on the frontlines of war. If the Houthi militia wants the Yemenis to live in harmony, it must stop imposing its sectarian beliefs by force and stop delaying progress towards reaching a peaceful solution.
These facts make it imperative for this Council to prevent the Houthis from carrying out their brutal war and compel them to return to the path of de-escalation. This includes providing continued support for the diplomatic efforts led by the Special Envoy to bring the Houthis back to the implementation of the truce, in line with the recent press statement of the Security Council. The truce, which brought a sense of stability to the lives of Yemenis over the past six months, is an important step towards resuming the negotiations on a comprehensive solution to the crisis. This is the ultimate goal that we all seek to achieve.
It is our responsibility as members of the Security Council to identify who is hindering these efforts and take a firm stand against them, including by adopting deterrent and punitive measures. The Council must also take serious measures to stop the systematic violations of the arms embargo imposed by the relevant Security Council resolutions. We commend here the positive response of the Presidential Leadership Council to the UN proposals to renew the truce, and we renew our support for its efforts to bring stability to Yemen. We also commend the leading role played by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its efforts to end the crisis in Yemen as well as Oman’s mediation.
To conclude, Mr. President, the Houthis’ persistence to resume fighting will further exacerbate the economic and humanitarian crisis caused by the ongoing war and global inflation. Further, the Houthi militia has created additional burdens on the Yemeni people, including by forcing them to pay illegal taxation – similar to those imposed by other terrorist groups like Da’esh. Additionally, they persist in their harassment and draconian restrictions over the work of humanitarian organizations, limiting their ability to carry out their relief missions and depriving the people who are in real need of assistance from accessing it. The Yemeni people cannot bear any additional burdens under these difficult circumstances. This calls for concerted efforts and support to alleviate the humanitarian situation and enhance economic conditions.
Thank you, Mr. President.