Let me begin by thanking you Special Envoy Grundberg and USG Griffiths for your briefings. We are also thankful to you, Ambassador Hoxha, for your briefing and role as Chair of the 2140 Committee. Norway fully supports the renewal of the committee’s mandate and the mandate of the Panel of Experts later this month.
Colleagues, we are greatly concerned by the serious military escalation by all parties of the conflict in Yemen. We echo the Secretary-General’s concern that January saw a “record-shattering” number of civilian casualties in Yemen, and over the attack in Sa’ada, where more than 90 civilians lost their life.
We also continue to be alarmed by the increased cross-border attacks in the region, including against the UAE and Saudi-Arabia. Norway condemns these attacks, and is concerned by increased tension in the region, including consequences for maritime security.
We strongly call on all parties to exercise restraint and rapidly de-escalate military activities. The civilian harm caused by the hostilities is shocking. It is deplorable that recent air strikes and missile attacks have hit civilian infrastructure. We urgently call on all parties to fully respect international humanitarian law and human rights, and to ensure the protection of civilian lives and infrastructure.
Norway welcomes the recent report from the Panel of Experts, and thanks them for bringing attention to widespread breaches of international humanitarian law, including indiscriminate attacks, the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict and sexual and gender-based violence.
We remain deeply concerned about widespread human rights violations and abuses.
The Panel’s documentation and investigation of these violations is instrumental to the Council’s work. We would also like to remind the parties of their obligation to keep UN staff safe.
Colleagues, it is clear that there are no military solutions to the conflict in Yemen.
This is not a rhetorical statement, but a lesson learned from experiences in conflict-affected settings around the world. A nation-wide ceasefire and a turn towards political dialogue is the only path forward to bring peace and security to the people of Yemen. And we call upon all parties to prioritize the needs and interests of the Yemeni people by fully cooperating with the Special Envoy, without preconditions or delay. In this regard, let me thank you, Hans, for sharing your plans of launching consultations with a broad number of parties. We fully support your approach.
Furthermore, the importance of the life-saving humanitarian efforts in Yemen remain crucial. We are especially concerned by the harmful coping mechanisms that families and communities must resort to amid steep increases in the price of basic goods and cooking gas. The fuel shortages also present serious challenges. Water scarcity as a result of climate change exacerbates existing vulnerabilities. Norway welcomes the UN’s plan for a pledging conference in Geneva next month.
Finally, we are encouraged by what we have heard from USG Griffiths today on the Safer. Joint international efforts, and support by the Council, are needed to make progress in the time ahead.