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

Ambassador Jonathan Cohen
Acting Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
February 19, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you Special Envoy Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General Lowcock for your briefings, your tireless efforts, and those of your teams.

Mr. President, on February 13, the United States joined the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE in welcoming the adoption of Resolutions 2451 and 2452, and we reiterated our commitment to a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in Yemen. We’re encouraged by the reconvening of the Redeployment Coordination Committee over the weekend, and the parties’ progress toward agreement on redeployment from Hudaydah. We’re also eager to see further progress on exchanges of prisoners and the return of the bodies of those killed in conflict. We urge all parties involved to cooperate with the UN Special Envoy’s team as he works to finalize the terms of this exchange.

Mr. President, the United States is concerned that World Food program officials have not yet gained access to the Red Sea Mills. UN Special Envoy Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General Lowcock warned us previously that grain stocks are at risk of rotting, and we can’t waste any time in assessing the condition of an emergency food supply that’s meant to feed 3.7 million people. We again urge that the parties facilitate immediate access to the mills and ensure that the surrounding area is safe.

Mr. President, the escalation of violence in Hajjah governorate in January reminds us that while the Hudaydah ceasefire is a promising first step, the broader conflict persists. The Yemeni people must know — and the parties to the conflict must understand — that the United States remains focused, as does this Council as a whole, on achieving a comprehensive, credible, and durable political solution to the war. Such a solution will require compromise on all sides, so that we can start the long process of recovering from this humanitarian catastrophe.

Looking forward, the United States will work with the UN and members of the Security Council to ensure that all UN efforts in Yemen, both political and humanitarian, are successful. Thank you.