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

Ambassador Kelly Craft
Permanent Representative
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York City
September 16, 2019


Thank you, Mr. President, and thank you, Special Envoy Griffiths and Under-Secretary-General Lowcock, for your briefings. We are grateful for the tireless efforts of your teams, and I look forward to working with you to bringing lasting peace and security to the people of Yemen.

Before I continue, I’d like to briefly address the deeply troubling attacks on Saudi oil facilities that occurred this past weekend. The United States condemns these attacks in the strongest possible terms, standing firmly with our Saudi friends. We must all be clear-eyed about this event – a direct assault on the world energy supply.

Claims of responsibility have been made. But, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has clearly stated, there is no evidence that the attacks came from Yemen. Emerging information indicates that responsibility lies with Iran.

Turning to today’s briefing, the United States offers its condolences for the loss of life due to clashes in Yemen. This ongoing unrest distracts from the broader settlement process, which only benefits al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and other malign actors. We urge the parties to use the Saudi-led talks to address their differences, and we commend Saudi Arabia for creating a space for this dialogue.

To be clear, the use of force to express grievances will further destabilize Yemen and lead to greater suffering. Only an inclusive political settlement will guarantee Yemen’s stability, unity, and prosperity in the long term.

We support the Special Envoy’s efforts to facilitate a comprehensive political agreement, and we encourage the parties to demonstrate progress, particularly by implementing the Hudaydah Agreement.

We call on the Houthis to cease escalatory attacks that have impacted civilians in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, Iran must stop providing lethal aid in defiance of the arms embargo outlined in UN Security Council Resolution 2216.

As the Under-Secretary explained in his briefing, civilians continue to bear the brunt of this conflict: nearly 80 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance. Allow me to repeat myself: nearly 80 percent of the population is in need of humanitarian assistance.

Humanitarian aid alone will not solve this crisis. However, it remains critically important for millions of vulnerable Yemenis.

As one of the largest humanitarian contributors in Yemen, we are encouraged to hear that a portion of the outstanding $1.2 billion in aid funding pledged by Saudi Arabia and UAE may be disbursed in the coming weeks. These urgently needed funds will help essential aid programs resume operations. And, we are especially encouraged by your announcement today that money is on its way.

We call on all donors to increase their funding for these under-resourced programs. Beyond funding constraints, humanitarian aid workers must also be permitted immediate access to civilians affected by unrest.

Finally, as we have heard, currency instability further worsens Yemen’s humanitarian crisis. In this regard, we call on the parties to continue to respect the Central Bank of Yemen and other government institutions underpinning economic stability.

I want to close by reiterating my personal desire to work closely with the members of this council and the entire UN body to support the people of Yemen.

Thank you.