Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Briefing on Yemen, 14 December 2018, New York.
Thank you, Mr. President,
and thank you very much to Martin and Mark for updates today. I also want to welcome the new permanent representative of Yemen – it must be rewarding to be present at the first meeting on a day of hope.
Mr. President, yesterday marked an important day. The Stockholm agreements can be the breakthrough for peace, and for ending the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Our efforts must now turn to immediate implementation, as others have said, and to maintaining the momentum in the political process.
I want to express our very deep appreciation for the extraordinary efforts by Special Envoy Martin Griffiths in this endeavor. We also commend the personal engagement of the Secretary-General himself - an illustration of the strong international commitment to the crisis in Yemen, and the urgency of finding political solutions.
We also thank those who played a crucial role to make this agreement happen, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Ambassadors accredited to Yemen including the permanent members of this Council. Without intense preparations and active international support, the consultations in Stockholm would never have been possible.
But most of all we would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Yemeni delegations. Coming together for the first time in more than two years, was a significant step towards ending the conflict.
Crucial agreements were reached on several issues, as we have just heard. Most important was the agreement on the ceasefire in Hodeidah, with mutual redeployment of forces and a neutral management of the port. Its implementation is now urgent, not least to address the desperate humanitarian situation in Hodeida as well as in other parts of the country.
The understanding reached to ease the tension in Taiz was also important, including with a view to allow for humanitarian corridors and demining. We fully support the efforts to find an agreement to open Sana’a Airport, as well as the exchange of prisoners, as an important humanitarian measure, and to build further confidence. Agreement to continue the dialogue on economic issues is another essential element. And finally, the commitment to continue to engage on a negotiating framework will be critical for the important process ahead. The atmospherics during the talks bode well moving forward.
But Mr. President, Yemen today is still the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, as we’ve just heard.
As the UN-led consultations have progressed, fighting has continued in many parts of Yemen, including with civilian causalities. And the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate, with an increased risk of widespread famine, as outlined by Mark today.
The Stockholm agreements reached must therefore be urgently translated into concrete action. The Council should come together to support the agreement and fully back its implementation. We would like to see a Security Council resolution swiftly in support of the Agreement, including on the United Nations monitoring of the ceasefire in Hodeidah, very much in line with that the UK Ambassador just outlined here before me.
We must also continue to fully support – practically and politically - OCHA’s asks to alleviate the suffering and prevent widespread famine. The upcoming high-level pledging conference early next year provides a key opportunity for the international community to demonstrate its commitment to the Yemeni people.
The constructive engagement with the UN efforts by all sides must also continue, in order to make progress on the issues that are still pending. We welcome that the parties plan to meet again by the end of January, and we hope to see further progress even before then, on the issues left open, as indicated by the Envoy Martin Griffiths this morning including on economy and the Sana’a airport. We encourage the parties to continue discussions in the same spirit of dialogue and compromise demonstrated during the meeting in Stockholm earlier this week.
We appreciate the Special Envoy’s efforts to increase the representation of women in the political process, and we commend the Women Technical Advisory Group for their important contribution. In the future rounds of talks, however, further efforts are needed to ensure the full and effective participation of women in this process.
Mr. President, to conclude,
We are honored to have hosted the UN-led consultations in Stockholm. We truly hope that this will mark the turning point for peace in Yemen. We will continue to play an active role in support of the sustained UN efforts for Yemen. The people of Yemen must now see the concrete benefits of the agreements. It cannot be that we celebrate a diplomatic breakthrough on paper, and people continue to suffer.
Thank you very much, Mr. President.