Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN Mr Gert Auväärt at Security Council briefing on Yemen,15 October 2020

Thank you Mr. President,

I would like to thank Special Envoy Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General Lowcock for their briefings.

The continuing violence in the Yemen conflict is deeply worrying. It results in a growing number of civilian casualties and the exacerbation of the humanitarian crisis. The military escalation in Marib is threatening hundreds of thousands of displaced people and puts the UN peace process at risk.

The recent escalation in Hodeidah, which has caused a substantial number of civilian casualties, is another worrying setback and risks jeopardizing the peace efforts. We call upon the parties to immediately stop fighting, return to the implementation of Hodeidah agreement and engage with UNMHA’s joint implementation mechanisms.

It is clear that violence will only undermine the prospects of a long-term solution to the conflict. We call upon all parties to come to an immediate nationwide ceasefire and to agree to the UN proposal of a joint declaration without further delay. We fully support the efforts of Special Envoy Griffiths in mediating the negotiations.

On a positive note, we welcome the agreement reached by the parties on the exchange of over 1,000 prisoners and the first swap which took place today. This is an important humanitarian and confidence building measure and a key step in implementing the Stockholm Agreement.

We also remind all parties of their responsibility to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law and to ensure accountability for all violations and abuses. All parties must take the necessary measures to protect civilians, especially the vulnerable groups, such as women and children. In this context, we welcome the renewal of the mandate of the Group of Eminent Experts on Yemen.

Turning to the humanitarian situation, we fully share the concerns stressed by Under-Secretary-General Lowcock regarding the grim situation that the Yemenis are facing, including the possible famine. The funding gaps of the humanitarian programs must be filled and Yemen’s economy must be strengthened. In this regard, we welcome the organizing of the virtual High-Level Side Event on the humanitarian situation in Yemen, which took place on 23 September. We also call for intensified efforts to find a long-term solution to ensure the import of fuel and commercial items through the ports.

Lastly, we call on the Houthi authorities to finalize the agreement for allowing the UN mission to access the SAFER oil tanker safely and without further delay, in order to prevent a large-scale catastrophe.

I thank you