Several UN Security Council members have told Asharq Al-Awsat that they were “cautiously optimistic” on progress made in limiting tension in Yemen.
The Council held on Thursday a closed-door session to hear briefings from United Nations Yemen envoy Martin Griffiths, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA) Mark Lowcock and the head of the UN’s Hodeidah mission, Abhijit Guha.
“The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for the Special Envoy and his efforts in the political process. They noticed some positive developments although challenges remain,” US Acting Deputy Representative to the UN and President of the Security Council for the month of December Cherith Norman Chalet said following the session.
She added that the members “noted concern over freedom of movement restrictions with UNMHA and other UN staff and called for them to be redressed as a matter of urgency.”
Meanwhile, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have helped 5,087 Somali refugees return home from Yemen since 2017, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said.
“The voluntary returns are part of UNHCR’s Assisted Spontaneous Return (ASR) program, to which IOM is a partner,” he said in his daily press briefing on Thursday.
Yemen hosts the world’s second largest Somali refugee population, around 250,000 refugees, he added.