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Remarks by US Ambassador at a UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen | Yemen Details
on Wednesday 12 January, 2022

Remarks by US Ambassador at a UN Security Council Briefing on Yemen

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield addresses the UNSC in New York City. (Reuters)
by :

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
January 12, 2022


Thank you, Madam President, and thank you to our briefers. Today I’d like to discuss three broad topics: the worrying rise in hostilities, the clear pattern of Houthi escalation and obstruction, and the concerning humanitarian, fuel, and Safer oil tanker situations.

First, the United States remains alarmed by the continued military escalation in Yemen, particularly in Sana’a, Marib, and the Red Sea, as described by our briefers. This rise in hostilities threatens the prospect for a peaceful and inclusive political solution and exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation. This escalation demonstrates the serious need for an inclusive peace process – one that integrates the voices of women, marginalized groups, and diverse civil society leaders, such as Ms. al-Aghbary – the one we heard speak so powerfully today.

To that end, Special Envoy Grundberg, we are encouraged by your efforts to develop a framework for an inclusive peace process to help end this conflict. We look forward to hearing more about your proposal as soon as it is finalized. All parties must engage with you, and each other, in good faith and without preconditions to advance an inclusive political solution. Members of this Council should encourage such a constructive working relationship between the Special Envoy and the parties to the conflict. While we encourage peace, we must not be afraid to call out actions that obstruct it.

Which leads me to my second point: condemning the Houthis’ escalation in violence, which undermines the cause of peace. Despite Council condemnation, the Houthis continue to detain and harass the United States’ Yemeni local staff, as well as UN staff. They also control our former embassy compound. The Houthis must immediately release – unharmed – all of our Yemeni employees, vacate the former U.S. embassy compound, return seized U.S. property, and cease their threats against our employees and their families. We similarly condemn the Houthis’ seizure of an Emirati-flagged merchant vessel last week. And we call on the Houthis to immediately release the ship and crew unharmed.

Another part of this pattern is the ongoing Houthi military offensive in Marib, which has led to thousands of additional internally displaced people now living in precarious conditions. This offensive is fueled by the illegal flow of weapons to the Houthis. Just last month, the U.S. Navy seized upwards of 1,400 assault rifles, 226,000 rounds of ammunition from a vessel originating from Iran. This ship was on a route historically used to illegally smuggle weapons to the Houthis. The smuggling of arms from Iran to the Houthis represents a flagrant violation of the UN’s targeted arms embargo and is yet another example of how Iran’s destabilizing activity is prolonging the war in Yemen.

The Houthis’ pattern is punctuated by their continued engagement in violence, rape, and other forms of sexual violence, arbitrary detentions and obstructions*, and targeted killings, including female politicians and professionals. This is unconscionable. We unequivocally condemn all human rights abuses and violations, by all parties. We remain strongly committed to promoting accountability for human rights violations and abuses in Yemen.

Third and finally, we remain concerned about the humanitarian situation, the fuel situation, and the Safer oil tanker. The United States is relieved that UN humanitarian flights have resumed at Sana’a airport after a weeklong closure in December prompted by Houthi claims of communications equipment failure. But we are concerned about Houthi threats to obstruct future flights, despite UN inspections deeming the airport equipment operational. We call on all parties to facilitate the free flow of humanitarian assistance and remove unnecessary administrative requirements that impede humanitarian operations. And we call for the release of detained UN personnel in both Sana’a and Marib.

There are now six fuel ships awaiting Yemeni government clearance. Simultaneously, the Houthis continue to stockpile and manipulate the price of fuel, keeping it out of the reach of Yemenis in need of it. All parties must focus on reaching a durable solution for regularizing fuel imports that ensures Yemenis can access essential goods and services. Disappointingly, the issue of the Safer oil tanker remains an economic, environmental, and humanitarian timebomb, threatening not only the Yemeni people, but also fragile ecosystems and global supply chains. The Houthis are responsible for this unacceptable impasse. We call on them to help ensure a safe, viable, and prompt solution.

2022 has the potential to bring progress toward peace in Yemen. We must reverse the current trajectory, end the violence, and help facilitate the kind of intra-Yemeni dialogue that will resolve this conflict once and for all.

Thank you, Madam President.