Statement by Ambassador Christoph Heusgen at the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Yemen), January 9

09.01.2019 - Speech

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1. Stockholm Agreements of great importance: 

  • Proof that diplomacy – even after years of political deadlock and fighting – works if parties come together.
  • Appreciate engagement of parties and the tireless work of UN Special Envoy Martin Griffiths. 
  • Commend the UN, and in particular Major General Cammaert, for deploying to Hodeidah in such a short span of time and gaining the respect and confidence of the parties on the ground.
  • Commend the fact that the Redeployment Coordination Committee (RCC) already met a couple of times and was able to discuss first steps towards implementing the Hodeidah agreement. 

2. Now is the time for implementation!

  • Express concern that the principal positions of the parties involved remain unchanged. This is deeply worrisome. 
  • Highest priority now the following crucial steps:
    • Vital life lines have to be re-opened;
    • Re-deployment of troops has to be completed;
    • Ceasefire has to be respected at all times.
  • What is needed is
    • The will of the parties to work for the implementation of the agreement and to turn words into deeds; for the people in/of Yemen!
    • To establish a common understanding of the concrete details of the agreements reached in order for the parties to implement them and for the UN to monitor and verify them.
  • This is why we call on the parties to engage constructively in resolving the diverging interpretations of what has been agreed in Stockholm, especially with regard to the ceasefire and re-deployment of troops, and refrain from any unilateral actions. We need to invest in building trust.
  • For the UN to be able to fulfill their part of the work, it is crucial that the parties remove all bureaucratic obstacles regarding the deployment of UN personnel. We urge relevant authorities to speed up the issuance of visas.

3. Humanitarian “emergency break” needed:

  • Progress in the implementation of the Stockholm agreements must mean first and foremost that we now very quickly see improved, unhindered and sustained humanitarian access through the ports, in particular Hodeidah, and via transit roads. Improving humanitarian access is the key factor for delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance.
  • More assistance must reach people in need. This should be the Council’s yardstick against which progress has to be measured.
  • We demand a thorough and independent investigation into allegations of obstruction and/or diversion of international aid.  If proven, this is unacceptable and obviously undermines the credibility and good intentions which are needed to build trust between the parties. It clearly shows that better access and better monitoring must come together; they are two sides of the same coin.

4. Germany ready to engage:

  • We, as members of the Security Council, should do our utmost - here in the Council and concretely, on the ground - to support the implementation of the agreements reached in Sweden and to reignite the political process. Now is the time to move forward. Call upon the parties to seize this opportunity. 
  • Germany stands ready to do its part, to support steps taken to stabilize Yemen and to ease the suffering of the Yemeni population.
  • We also express our firm conviction that any political solution can only be sustainable if the process leading to it is inclusive of all parts of the society and groups throughout Yemen, including women, youth and other underrepresented groups.


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