Swedish Statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on the situation in Yemen

National Statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on the situation in Yemen, 11 September 2018, New York.

Thank you very much Madam President,

I can be quite brief, and I will not repeat our long and well-known positions on the broader humanitarian and political situation, but I wanted to take the floor to express our appreciation to Martin Griffiths for his briefing, and, more importantly, for the work that you’re doing and very determined and energetic efforts in Geneva.

Despite the challenges and temporary set-backs I think it’s important to echo what you were saying Martin, that things are difficult, it’s understandable that there are challenges after years of conflict and distrust. So, we would say we are encouraged by the launch of the consultations and the steps taken in Geneva.

The discussion with the Government of Yemen on vital Confidence building measures related to Sanaa airport, medical flights, the release of prisoners and the economy, is one such promising step. So, we commend the Government for its constructive engagement. We also welcome, as others have done, the active participation of the Yemeni women’s technical advisory group.

It is regretful that the Houthis did not make it to Geneva, an opportunity that should’ve been seized by them. Nevertheless, we are happy to note your assessment that there is willingness to take the political process forward, and we strongly urge them to engage.

We support your approach Martin, moving forward, outlined for us today: travelling to Sanaa and the region, to continue the political consultations building on discussions in Geneva.

But Madam President,

Now more than ever, it is crucial that the emphasis remains on the political track. With this in mind, we are concerned about the rocket attacks against Saudi Arabia, the latest escalation in Hodeida and the reports of intensified clashes and airstrikes, as well as of the unrest in the South. All of this leading again to unacceptable levels of civilian casualties.  

So, we once again remind the parties that a full-scale escalation in Hodeida would aggravate the humanitarian disaster even further and risks hundreds of thousands of lives, while clearly undermining the political process. Yemen’s ports, including Hodeida and Saleef, must remain open and functioning to allow for unhindered humanitarian and commercial imports. 

Now is the time for the Council and the broader international community to renew our support for the UN Special Envoy, and to call on the parties to de-escalate, respect international humanitarian law, ensure accountability, and engage in an inclusive UN-led political process without pre-conditions. And if we could express that through a press statement or something alike as suggested by my UK colleague we would be all in favor.

Thank you very much.

Contact

Lisa Laskaridis
Head of Press and Communication, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the UN
Phone +1 212 583 2543
Mobile +1 917 239 0941
email to Lisa Laskaridis