Remarks at a UN Security Council Briefing on the Situation in Yemen

Ambassador Nikki Haley
U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 11, 2018


Thank you very much, Martin, for coming back to brief us. We obviously share your frustration that the Houthis did not show up in Geneva. You did everything you could to get them there. The Houthis should know that the members of the Security Council are not going to tolerate attempts to undermine the UN’s efforts. While Geneva did not work as we had hoped, we have to find a way urgently to bring the parties to the table. That is why we are here. We want to give Martin the strongest possible backing, so that he can go back and tell everyone that they have got to commit to peace in Yemen.

The stakes on all sides are so high. It would be a mistake for the parties to dismiss the idea of peace talks and resort to military options. The temperature is rising across the region because of this war. Ballistic missile attacks into Saudi territory continue. There are threats to freedom of navigation in the Red Sea. Chaos in Yemen is spilling across its borders. We are potentially one missile strike away from a full-blown crisis. There is an alternative.

As we heard today, there is a remarkable degree of Security Council unity on Yemen. Everyone around the table wants to see diplomacy succeed. The parties have got to act to help the Yemeni people.

They can do things right now that will actually make the Yemeni people better off, instead of accelerating this humanitarian catastrophe. They can help the Yemeni people by finding a way to pay the salaries of teachers and allowing kids to go back to school, which is a step that any parent in this room can immediately understand.

They can help by opening up access to medical flights, so that ordinary Yemenis who desperately need medical treatment abroad for conditions like cancer or dialysis can get help.

They can help by doing everything they can to avoid targeting civilians and civilian objects, and by holding accountable those responsible for civilian casualties.

They can help by making sure that humanitarian aid and life-saving commercial goods reach Yemenis who need it through all of the country’s ports, including Hudaydah.

We know that Martin is working on many of these points, as well as others. We urge the parties to make rapid progress on getting these things done, before convening for a new round of talks. There should be no question of the confidence the Security Council has in Martin Griffiths. We are losing time and patience. All sides would be wise to work with Martin and reach out to him immediately.

Thank you.