Statement by Ambassador Woodward at the Security Council meeting on Yemen

The costs of inaction on the FSO Safer are severe

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17 April 2023

The UK welcomes ongoing efforts to advance peace in Yemen.

The Saudi and Omani delegations to Sana’a represent progress in efforts to find a settlement to the eight-year conflict.

The return of hundreds of former detainees to their homes is also welcome progress; for the individuals, families, and prospects for wider peace. We congratulate all those involved in their safe return.

Inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni political talks, under the auspices of the UN Special Envoy, are the vital next step.

At this time of hope, we are grateful for the unity of this Council. Sustainably improving the lives of the Yemeni people must remain our collective priority.

With this in mind, we call on the parties to refrain from provocation. The recent clashes in Marib and Shabwa had significant humanitarian consequences, displacing 10,000 people, as well as threatening progress towards peace.

Mr President,

Clearly the need for an impactful humanitarian response remains critical, especially while a sizeable funding gap remains.

While the UK commends the progress made, we call for greater ambition in addressing the recommendations of the Inter-Agency Humanitarian Evaluation.

In order for vital humanitarian work to go ahead, we urge authorities across Yemen to allow unfettered humanitarian access.

In particular we join calls for ends to the impediments to independent assessment and monitoring, for fair selection of service providers, and free movement, especially of national female aid workers in the north.

The UN, donors, and local authorities need to step up and work together to effectively address the needs of people in Yemen.


We are at a critical moment to address the threat posed by the FSO Safer.

The replacement vessel has begun its journey to Yemen but there is not enough funding for the salvage operation to take place.

The costs of inaction are severe. This would devastate marine life and coastal livelihoods, disrupt life-saving humanitarian assistance for 17 million people, and cost the global economy billions in lost trade every day.

On 4th May, the UK is co-hosting a Pledging Conference with the Netherlands and in partnership with the UN.

This event aims to fill the shortfall and provide a long-term solution for Yemen.

It is on all of us, states, private sector and individuals, to step up and help. The time to act is now. We all have a stake in averting this catastrophe.

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