Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing on the situation in Yemen

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April 17, 2023

We thank SESG Grundberg and Deputy Director of the Operations and Advocacy Division of UN OCHA, Ms. Ghada Mudawi, for the briefings on the political and humanitarian situation in Yemen.

Without any doubt, today we all witness a life changing moment in the history of this long-suffering country, where a severe military-political and humanitarian crisis has continued for many years by now. Indeed, the Yemeni settlement has received some tangible positive momentum. All sides want to avoid another large-scale escalation and are truly interested in normalization.

However, this is a slow and very fragile process. Before we can speak of launching a full-fledged political process, the stakeholders need to agree on a number of crucial political issues in order to recover the ceasefire that was suspended last year and make it longer and broader; and also to mitigate the humanitarian crisis. The sides should be ready to make reciprocal concessions to overcome the major disputes. Looking forward, we think that the international legal framework for the settlement in Yemen will need to be adjusted so as to reflect the current realities.

We hope that all major political forces in Yemen will stick to a constructive position allowing to consolidate a cessation of hostilities. In these circumstances, the need to demonstrate restraint and keep from provocative action appears of paramount importance.

The issue of prisoner exchange also received some encouraging developments. We welcome the agreement that was made at the end of March under assistance of the Special Envoy regarding an exchange of prisoners and detainees between the official authorities of Yemen and the Houthis that already started to be implemented. We call on the Yemeni sides to bolster talks with a view to resolving the problem of forcibly detained persons and other humanitarian issues. We proceed from the understanding that solid progress at this track will facilitate confidence building and create a favorable environment for establishing full-scaled national dialogue under UN auspices where all leading political forces of Yemen can take part in order to achieve lasting stabilization.

We will continue to coordinate our approaches with all leading protagonists in Yemen, as well as key regional partners. We note the relentless efforts of the Special Envoy aimed at bringing the sides back to the negotiation table.  Our support for SESG Grundberg’s efforts was also reiterated at the talks with Minister Lavrov on 17 February 2023. Achievement of a lasting and comprehensive settlement of the numerous problems that Yemen is faced with and that have implications for Yemen’s neighbors should be our shared commitment.

We regret that some of our colleagues in the Council remain fixated on the need to recover exports of the Yemeni oil. Now is not the time to push national agendas, no matter how much someone might want to keep exploiting Yemen’s natural resources.

We are concerned over the dire socio-economic situation in Yemen which remains the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Yemenis, wherever they may live, must have unfettered non-discriminatory access to food, medicines, and other basic necessities. We note the efforts of regional actors at the financial and humanitarian tracks. We also count on a soon resolution of the problem around the SAFER tanker, which in its current state poses a major threat the Red Sea ecosystem.

In conclusion, we remind of consistent efforts that Russia takes to improve the situation, ensure lasting peace, stability, and sustainable development in the Persian Gulf region. Our conceptual proposals for establishing a collective security system in the Gulf (that were revised and updated in August 2021) are dedicated to resolution of precisely these tasks.

Thank you.

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