Joint Communique on Ministerial Meeting on Yemen Crisis at UN General Assembly
On Thursday September 26th, on the margins of the 74th United Nations General Assembly, Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde co-hosted a high-level breakfast meeting together with the United Kingdom and Kuwait on the situation in Yemen. The meeting was attended by a number of countries who have been particularly engaged in supporting a political solution in Yemen within the UN Security Council. The Group agreed to continue their joint efforts for a political process in Yemen, and adopted on the following statement.
1. Representatives of the Governments of France, Germany, Kuwait, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America met as a Group on Thursday, 26 September 2019, to underline their continued support for the UN-led peace process in Yemen.
2. The Group underlines its full support for the UN Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, and calls on the Government of Yemen and the Houthis to engage constructively and continuously with him. The Group commends the tireless efforts of the Special Envoy to support the parties to implement the Stockholm Agreement and to achieve a political solution to the conflict in Yemen. In this regard, the Group reaffirms its commitment to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Yemen.
3. The Group emphasises the need for de-escalation and efforts by all parties to ensure that the conflict in Yemen is not further drawn into growing regional tensions. In this regard, the Group condemns in the strongest terms the increased intensity of Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia as such attacks pose a serious national security threat to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as well as a wider threat to regional security, and threaten to undermine the UN-led political process. In this context, the announcement on 20 September that the Houthis would cease strikes on Saudi Arabia is an important first step towards de-escalation which will need to be followed with positive action on the ground by the Houthis as well as restraint by the Coalition.
4. The Group reiterates the need to increase the pace and scale of the humanitarian response. It expresses its concern at reports that the UN is increasingly running out of funding, forced to scale back or stop life-saving activities. The Group is clear that a political settlement is the only way to address the humanitarian crisis, but given the risk of starvation faced by millions, the Group calls on all donors to disburse promptly their pledges to the UN humanitarian response. The Group expresses appreciation for the disbursement of $500 million by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the UN on 25 September. It also calls on the conflict parties to facilitate safe, rapid and unhindered humanitarian access in compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2451. The Group calls on all parties to fulfil their obligations under international humanitarian law, including ensuring the protection of civilians.
5. Following the recent developments in the south of Yemen, the Group urges the invited parties to engage in the dialogue led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to preserve Yemen’s territorial integrity. These developments give further urgency for the need to start a comprehensive and inclusive political process that will lead to an enduring political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen.
6. The Group reiterates its commitment to the Yemeni peace process and the relevant Security Council Resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2216, the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative and its Implementation Mechanism, and the outcomes of the comprehensive National Dialogue Conference. In this regard, the Group expresses its full support for the UN Special Envoy’s plan to hold informal consultations with Yemeni political actors and establish a political advisory group in preparation for the resumption of formal negotiations. The Group calls on the Yemeni parties to engage constructively with the Special Envoy to resume inclusive and comprehensive political discussions which can end the conflict.
7. The Stockholm Agreement remains an important element of the Yemen peace process and should be implemented as envisaged in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation, create confidence between the parties, and improve the conditions for political talks. To gain momentum, the Group calls on the Yemeni parties to respect the ceasefire in Hodeidah and participate constructively in negotiations on implementation of Hodeidah Agreement. In particular, the Group expresses its full support for UNMHA and calls on the Yemeni parties to engage constructively with the Mission as well as with UN proposals on security arrangements, which will allow for disengagement and the mutual withdrawal of military forces, tripartite monitoring and the establishment of the UNVIM presence. The Group further calls on the Yemeni parties to engage with UN proposals to establish a mechanism for redirecting port revenues to salary payments. It also calls on the parties to start implementation of the prisoner exchange agreement as soon as possible. However, lack of full implementation of the Stockholm Agreements should not prevent the parties from participation in the Special Envoy’s process toward a broader political settlement to end the conflict.
8. The Group looks to the Security Council to review progress when they next meet. The Group also agreed to continue to meet regularly at different levels and with other partners in order to support the UN-led peace process.