I would like to extend a very warm welcome to Special Envoy Hans Grundberg. We are encouraged by your statement today, and stand ready to support your work in any way possible.
I would like to also thank all the briefers for their important remarks, and especially Ms. Entesar Al-Qadhi, for highlighting the need for women’s participation in the peace process. And I welcome too the representative from Yemen, and reiterate our support to the Yemeni Government, as expressed during the visit of the Yemeni Foreign Minister to Norway last week.
I would like to raise four key points today:
First, there is an urgent need for military
We are deeply concerned that the offensive by the Houthis in Marib has intensified for the second week, along with fighting in other areas. Furthermore, the security situation in the south of Yemen continues to deteriorate. We are concerned also by the escalating cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia- including on Abha International Airport on 31 August. These attacks underline the clear need for
Second, it is essential that we seize every opportunity to move the peace process forward.
The political process between the Yemeni parties needs to restart, and we urge them to fully cooperate without delay. We must acknowledge that there will be no rapid political solution; and that the political process will require the parties’ willingness to compromise. We are encouraged by Mr. Grundberg’s commitment to an inclusive approach, one that is Yemeni-owned and Yemeni-led. The full, equal, meaningful participation and leadership of Yemeni women is their right, as well as a prerequisite for sustainable solutions. And we encourage Mr. Grundberg to consider the recommendations from the IEG for Women, Peace and Security in this regard.
Third, there is an urgent need to reverse the current humanitarian crisis.
We would like to echo calls for lifting the restrictions that have prevented food and fuel from entering the Port of Hodeida. We are concerned by reports of increasing bureaucratic impediments inside Yemen. We call on all actors to ensure safe and unhindered humanitarian access immediately.
Norway will participate in the upcoming high-level event later this month, which will be important to address the challenges in the humanitarian situation.
And fourth and finally, there is an urgent need to focus on the protection of civilians. The Yemeni conflict has had a severe impact on the civilian population. We note with concern the conclusions drawn by the Group of Eminent Experts (GEE) in their new report. We would like to reiterate that any perpetrators of violations of international humanitarian law, and human rights violations and abuses- including conflict-related sexual violence- must be held accountable for their crimes.
In Marib, over 24 000 people have been displaced so far this year. And children remain the most vulnerable in this conflict. Yesterday was the International Day to Protect Education from Attack. Yet in Yemen, UNICEF reports that 2500 schools have been damaged, used as shelters, or occupied by armed groups. And it is estimated that 8,1 million children need emergency education assistance across Yemen. We would like to reiterate that the Safe Schools Declaration, and its Guidelines, are key instruments for protecting schools and universities from military use during armed conflict.
There is an urgent need for a revitalised UN led peace process in Yemen. I will therefore close by repeating our support to the approach presented by Mr. Grundberg; and encourage all parties to the conflict- and all Security Council members- to cooperate with him in good faith.