Statement by H.E. Ambassador YAMAZAKI Kazuyuki, Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations, at the Security Council Briefing, Agenda item “Maintenance of International Peace and Security” (the situation in Yemen)

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January 12, 2024

Thank you, Mr. President.

Let me first express my appreciation to ASG Khiari for his briefing.

Since mid-November last year, the Houthis have been continuously attacking commercial vessels engaged in lawful maritime transit through the Red Sea. They have also illegally “seized” and are holding the Galaxy Leader, a vessel operated by a Japanese company, and its crew for more than 50 days.

As everyone knows, these acts are flagrant violations of international law and are a matter of serious concern for global maritime transportation. Such actions that jeopardize the freedom of navigation of commercial vessels and the safety of crew members cannot be justified for any reason.

The international community has repeatedly raised a strong voice in demanding for the immediate cessation of these attacks. This Council also issued a press statement last month and held an emergency meeting on January 3rd to express its grave concern against the Houthis’ irresponsible actions.

On the same day, the countries concerned, including Japan, sent a clear message that the Houthis would bear the responsibility of the consequences if they continued to threaten lives, the global economy, and the free flow of commerce in the region’s critical waterways.

The Houthis, however, have not stopped attacks against commercial vessels and have been escalating their illegal and unacceptable actions.

Mr. President,

Only two days ago, the Security Council adopted the Resolution 2722, demanding the Houthis to immediately cease their attacks against commercial vessels and reaffirming the navigational rights and freedoms in the Red Sea.

To date, we have exerted all possible diplomatic efforts to resolve this issue. Regrettably, however, the Houthis have ignored the calls by the international community, including the unequivocal pronouncement by this Council.

In response, the United States and the United Kingdom have conducted joint strikes against a number of targets in Houthi-controlled areas yesterday to degrade the Houthis’ capacity to make additional threats.

Japan supports the determination of the United States, United Kingdom and relevant countries to fulfill its responsibility in ensuring the free and safe navigation of vessels. To this end, we understand that these measures are aimed at preventing the further deterioration of the situation.

Japan remains firm in its commitment to not tolerate any action that would disturb the inalienable freedom of safe navigation and will take the necessary steps to cease the Houthis’ threats while continuing to closely cooperate with relevant countries.

I thank you.

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