Remarks by Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations, at a UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen

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April 17, 2023

Thank you. Thank you, Special Envoy Grundberg and Deputy Director Mudawi for your helpful updates.

April 2 marked one year since the UN-mediated truce in Yemen began, initiating the longest period of calm since the war started, as noted by the Special Envoy. The truce laid the foundation for renewed peace efforts while delivering tangible benefits to the Yemeni people – saving thousands of lives.

We are encouraged the terms of the truce have largely continued to hold and thank the Republic of Yemen government for its restraint, particularly following Houthi attacks, which this Council condemned earlier this month.

And today, there is yet even more reason for optimism.

We welcome significant efforts toward peace in Yemen, including the visit by Saudi and Omani delegations to Sana’a, as well as the Republic of Yemen government’s public commitment to take additional steps to achieve peace.

We also welcome the April 14-16 release of approximately 900 prisoners from all sides of the conflict.

These developments are important steps forward, building on the progress and intensive negotiations of the past year. We recognize the strong support of regional partners Saudi Arabia and Oman – as well as the unflagging dedication of the Office of the UN Special Envoy.

We call on the parties to seize this momentum and work to secure a new, more comprehensive agreement that will pave the way for a UN-mediated, Yemeni-Yemeni political process. This is the only way to resolve the conflict in a durable way and reverse the humanitarian crisis and economic strain on Yemenis.

While we welcome recent efforts promoting regional de-escalation, only Yemenis can bring lasting peace to Yemen. As such, we must focus on supporting UN efforts to bring the Yemeni parties together in an inclusive political process. We hope this process can include meaningful input from women and civil society leaders, and respond to Yemenis’ calls for justice, accountability, and redress for human rights violations and abuses.

At this critical juncture in negotiations, restraint is more important than ever. Houthi actions, such as recent attacks in Taiz and Marib, threaten the positive progress we have seen and exacerbate Yemenis’ suffering.

While there is welcome progress toward peace, we cannot neglect Yemen’s dire humanitarian situation. A tremendous shortfall remains in the humanitarian appeal, and we call on donors to close the funding gap.

We also remain concerned about restrictions on humanitarian access, including Houthi interference in independent assessments and monitoring visits, contracting and tendering processes, as well as restrictions on women’s freedom of movement. Such interference must end, as it hinders aid delivery and prevents assistance from reaching Yemen’s most vulnerable.

We call for the release of our U.S. Yemeni staff members, who have been forcibly detained for 18 months. In the spirit of the Holy Month of Ramadan, we call on the Houthis to release them immediately and unconditionally.

We welcome news that the Nautica – the very large crude carrier contracted to offload oil from the Safer tanker – has set sail toward Yemen to begin the first phase of the project. We urge donors to provide funds and help make up the shortfall needed to begin the operation. We urge the UN to ensure project implementation proceeds on schedule.

Finally, I would like to wish the people of Yemen a Ramadan Mubarak and convey the best wishes of the people of the United States on the upcoming Eid al-Fitr celebrations. May the coming weeks and months give the people of Yemen even more cause for celebration.

Thank you.

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