NEW YORK – In meetings with senior United Nations (UN) officials and nongovernmental organizations this week, H.E. Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, reiterated UAE commitment to achieving a political solution to the conflict in Yemen, while expressing serious concerns about the continued obstruction of peace efforts in Yemen by the Iranian-backed Houthis.
The Minister reconfirmed the Coalition to Support Legitimacy in Yemen’s strong support for the Stockholm Agreement brokered by the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths. He discussed ongoing efforts to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict and a more hopeful future for all of Yemen.
“We are optimistic about the prospect for real progress in Yemen for 2019. We remain committed to supporting the implementation of the Stockholm Agreement. After years of fighting, the Stockholm talks presented a rare opportunity of moving from military confrontation to political negotiations. However, it requires commitment to translate the intentions of the agreement into reality on the ground,” stressed H.E. Dr. Gargash.
“Unfortunately, the Houthis and their Iranian backers continue to do everything in their power to derail the agreement”, he noted. “They defy the relevant UN Security Council resolutions with impunity. The Houthis’ persistent and deliberate violations of the ceasefire agreement, their refusal to meaningfully engage in the political process, and their continued systematic obstruction of the Redeployment Coordination Committee’s work will affect the feasibility of achieving long-lasting and sustainable peace. There have been almost 1,000 documented violations of the ceasefire agreement by the Houthis over the past weeks, leading to the deaths of 71 Yemeni forces and the wounding of another 534.”
“We call on the international community to impress upon the Houthis and their backers that they will be held responsible if their continued failure to comply with their international legal obligations leads to the collapse of the agreement.”
H.E. Dr. Gargash praised the dedicated efforts of the humanitarian agencies working to provide relief in Hodeidah and other areas of Yemen. He emphasized that the Coalition’s priority is to facilitate the immediate and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance, in close cooperation with the UN and other humanitarian partners on the ground. However, he voiced concern over the Houthis’ blatant violations of international humanitarian law, including their well-documented theft of humanitarian relief goods, their blocking of access for humanitarian relief workers, and ongoing obstructions to the delivery of humanitarian aid, as well as outright attacks on critical humanitarian infrastructure by the Houthis. “The Coalition is prepared to use carefully calibrated military pressure to change the calculus of the Houthis on the ground. The political process must resume, and the blocking of humanitarian aid by the Houthis must not be allowed to continue.”
During his visit, H.E. Dr. Gargash met with H.E. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the UN; Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA); and Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict.