Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen in the UN Security Council Meeting on Yemen, October 15, 2020

16.10.2020 - Speech

Check Against Delivery

When it comes to the prisoner exchange, Yemen we are witnessing this airlift of hope, and I can only echo what SE Martin Griffiths said with regard to the relief and comfort that this brings to those in the planes and to their family and friends. I would like to thank SE Martin Griffiths, your deputy, your team, and in particular the ICRC and President Maurer. It is incredible what the ICRC is doing there and in other places around the globe. We share Martin's wish that on this airlift of hope, we can now build confidence and momentum to actually embark on a road to peace and start with the final agreement on the Joint Declaration and a nationwide ceasefire. We and the parties owe this to the people.

Once again, I would like to commend SE Griffiths for his constant meetings with civil society and women. We have to involve them and we have to listen to them. In contrast to the airlift, we also have a deterioration of the situation in Hudaydah, which is alarming.

I want to support you in working with civil society and highlighting what civil society does, in terms of maintaining schools and education. Women's participation in all the peace talks on the local and nationwide level is so important. A peace agreement is much more enduring when women participate.

The humanitarian situation in Yemen is the worst of all conflicts that we are dealing with here in the Council. The people are suffering, and as USG Lowcock has highlighted, famine is looming. Your overview was very dire. As in many conflicts, it is women, children and marginalised groups who are suffering most from this conflict.

During our Council presidency in July, we had a civil society briefer, Raja Almasabi, the president of the Arab Human Rights Foundation, who pointed to the fate of persons with disabilities in Yemen. She said to us, “You can do more, you can do better.” Therefore, I would like to plead with colleagues who are standing in the way of highlighting the dire situation of persons with disabilities in the statement that we are preparing. I hope we will be able to agree that we highlight the fate of the people with disabilities.

On the humanitarian aid, we heard USG Mark Lowcock giving the figures and I'm happy that more regional donors are now paying. In the last meeting, I pointed particularly to the members of the coalition, and am very happy to hear that now Saudi Arabia is contributing financially. We hope that the United Arab Emirates will do likewise. Germany has disbursed all the 150 million dollars committed to the Yemen humanitarian response plan. In addition, we are giving 100 million dollars to the World Food Programme and UNOPS. Germany is the second largest donor to the World Food Programme, which we believe does a wonderful job.

We all recall when David Beasley was briefing the Council on the situation in in Yemen with regard to the distribution of support. I would like to echo what others have said: What the Houthis are doing to block humanitarian aid is unacceptable. Mr. Beasley also highlighted that the Houthis are diverting humanitarian aid.

Let me also point a finger at the other side. Mark Lowcock mentioned that some humanitarian aid is not getting into Hudaydah because the government of Yemen is blocking it on the grounds of import duties. I would like to plead that Yemen needs all Yemenis. You are the government of all Yemeni people. Please don't withhold humanitarian aid to any of your People.

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