on Tuesday 14 May, 2024

US Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen

Ambassador Robert Wood
by : usun.usmission.gov

Ambassador Robert Wood
Alternative Representative for Special Political Affairs
New York, New York
May 13, 2024


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you, Special Envoy Grundberg and Under-Secretary-General Griffiths, for your briefings.

One year ago, the Council hailed a hopeful moment for Yemen marked by an agreement to release almost 900 conflict-related detainees. The durability of a UN-brokered truce and intensive negotiations held some promise for an end to the conflict.

Although the truce continues to hold, the sad reality today is that Houthi attacks against commercial and naval vessels in the Red Sea have made continued progress towards a sustainable peace elusive, and the humanitarian situation has worsened for the Yemeni people.

As a result of the Houthi attacks driving up prices and causing delivery delays, Yemenis struggle to buy goods, food, and essentials in marketplaces.

Residents of Ta’iz remain essentially hostages in their own city, continued victims of Houthi snipers and shelling of the city that have killed and injured women and children.

There are widespread humanitarian needs across Yemen, with 18.2 million people – more than half of the population – requiring humanitarian assistance.

Millions of people are experiencing high levels of acute food insecurity and malnutrition, many remain internally displaced in southern Yemen, and lack access to protection and health services, clean drinking water, and sanitation facilities. As a result, a cholera outbreak is spreading across northern and southern Yemen.

Despite the vast level of need, there are not enough resources to support the humanitarian response. As the world’s leading donor of humanitarian assistance for Yemen, the United States calls upon the international community to provide more financial support to mitigate Yemen’s dire humanitarian crisis.

To provide relief to the Yemeni people and allow desperately needed food and supplies into Yemen, the Houthis must cease their attacks on international shipping, consistent with Resolution 2722.

We have repeatedly asked that the Secretary-General’s monthly report submitted to the Council in accordance with Resolution 2722 include information regarding the types of weapons used in each incident and, where appropriate, the likely origin of these weapons.

We have already pointed to the extensive evidence of Iran’s provision of advanced weapons, including ballistic and cruise missiles, to the Houthis, in violation of UN sanctions, which further promote regional instability.

If the Council wants a return to a more hopeful outlook for Yemen, we must take collective action – plain and simple.

We must collectively call Iran out for its destabilizing role and insist that it cannot hide behind the Houthis. We reiterate our call for Iran to cease its unlawful weapons transfers and enablement of the Houthis’ illegal and reckless attacks.

To underscore the Council’s concern regarding the ongoing violations of the arms embargo, we must do more to strengthen enforcement and deter sanctions violators.

The scale and diversity of materiel currently being transferred to the Houthis in violation of UNSCRs is unprecedented.

To that, we look forward to continued discussions about ways to strengthen UNVIM’s capacity to inspect vessels bound for Houthi-controlled ports to ensure compliance with the arms embargo and prevent the import of weapons.

Colleagues, we must redouble our collective efforts to put Yemen on a more positive trajectory. We continue to believe that the best path to stability is negotiating an inclusive Yemeni-Yemeni peace process, under UN auspices.

It is abundantly clear that the Houthis and their attacks in the Red Sea, and increasingly now in the Indian Ocean, are jeopardizing the potential benefits of a political resolution between the Yemeni parties.

In closing, Mr. President, I again call on the Houthis to release U.S. Embassy Locally Employed Staff they are holding. Thank you, Mr. President.