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Extensive UN, Arab Support for Expanding Ceasefire in Yemen

Extensive UN, Arab Support for Expanding Ceasefire in Yemen

Saturday, 24 September, 2022 - 07:30
United Nations Security Council meets in New York City, US February 21, 2022. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

The permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the international community called on the Yemeni parties to urgently intensify, and be flexible in, the negotiations under the auspices of the UN in order to agree on an expanded truce that could be translated into a durable ceasefire.

Deputy ministers and senior official representatives of the permanent five members of the Security Council (the United States, Britain, France, China and Russia), as well as the European Union, Germany, Kuwait and Sweden, referred to as the P5+4, met on the sidelines of the 77th UN General Assembly in New York. The Netherlands, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates participated as guests.

They discussed concrete steps to support an extension of the truce agreed upon by the Yemeni parties until October 2, and the start of a political process to end the conflict in Yemen.

The group issued a joint statement reiterating their firm support for the UN Special Envoy, Hans Grundberg, and his ongoing efforts for a longer extension and expansion of the current truce.

They underscored the urgency for quick progress and maximal flexibility by the parties.

The P5+4 expressed their determination that an expanded truce agreement will provide an opportunity to reach an inclusive, comprehensive negotiated political settlement based on the agreed references and under the auspices of the UN.

They recalled the importance of the full, equal, and meaningful participation of women in the peace process including a minimum 30 percent participation by women.

The P5+4 further underscored the tangible benefits of the truce to the Yemeni people, including a 60% reduction in civilian casualties from frontline violence, four times the amount of fuel imported through Hodeidah port compared with last year, and commercial flights from Sanaa allowing over 21,000 passengers to receive medical treatment abroad and to unite with families.

They urged the Yemeni parties to intensify engagement with Grundberg on all aspects of negotiations, avoid conditionality, and ensure their economic experts work closely with the UN to implement measures to tackle the economic and financial crises, in particular to identify a solution for paying salaries to civil servants.

The P5+4 welcomed the exceptional measures taken by Yemen’s government to avert fuel shortages in the Iranian-backed Houthi-controlled areas, “following a Houthi order that undermined the established process for clearing fuel ships.”

They called on the Houthis to refrain from such actions and to cooperate with UN-led efforts to identify a durable solution to ensure the flow of fuel.

They also condemned all attacks that threaten to derail the truce, including recent Houthi attacks on Taiz, reiterated that there is no military solution to the Yemen conflict and condemned the recent Houthi military parade in Hodeidah.

They expressed their concern about the lack of progress on the opening of the Taiz roads, and reiterated their call on the Houthis to act with flexibility in negotiations and immediately open the main Taiz roads in line with recent UN proposals.

The P5+4 highlighted Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and the continued risk of famine and encouraged donors to fully fund the UN humanitarian response plan and support the Yemeni government’s efforts to stabilize the economy.

They also reiterated their deep concern about the serious ecological, maritime, and humanitarian risks posed by the Safer tanker.

They welcomed the pledges from member states and the private sector toward the UN operational plan for the Safer tanker and emphasized the need to mobilize further funding to finalize the operation.

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