Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis
Acting Deputy Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
May 17, 2023
Thank you, Madam President. Thank you, Special Envoy Grundberg, Ms. Wosornu, and Ms. Al-Eryani for your briefings.
This is a hopeful moment for Yemen. There continues to be a window of opportunity to achieve a more durable and lasting peace, built on the groundwork laid by the UN-brokered truce and the intensive negotiations of the past year.
We recognize the efforts of regional partners, particularly Saudi Arabia and Oman. The Saudi and Omani delegations’ visit to Sana’a last month and the release of almost 900 detainees from all sides of the conflict represented important steps forward. We also commend the Republic of Yemen Government’s contribution to this progress. The parties now have a chance to bring peace to Yemen. We urge them to seize this momentum and intensify their efforts to bridge the remaining gaps and reach a more comprehensive agreement.
We note that such an agreement must lead to the resumption of government oil exports and pave the way for an inclusive, Yemeni-Yemeni political process. Such a process should also include the voices of civil society, women, and members of marginalized groups, and address Yemenis’ calls for justice, accountability, and redress for human rights abuses and violations. As we have said before, this is the only way to achieve a lasting peace in Yemen.
UN leadership will continue to be critical to the success of such a political process. The international community, and the Security Council in particular, stand behind Special Envoy Grundberg and commend his unflagging commitment to peacefully resolving the conflict. We urge the parties to continue to engage closely with him on UN-led peace efforts in order to build on the progress achieved so far.
Despite this progress toward peace and the now 13 months of de-escalation, the humanitarian situation remains dire as we have heard today. We urge donors to give generously to Yemen’s humanitarian appeal. A funding gap of over $3 billion remains, funds that are necessary to assist over 21.6 million Yemenis – approximately two-thirds of Yemen’s total population.
We were deeply saddened by the stampede in Sana’a over the holy month of Ramadan, which left at least 78 people dead and injured scores more. We express our condolences to the families of the deceased and everyone impacted by this tragic event. We also call for the immediate and unconditional release of our Yemeni staff in Sana’a, who have been forcibly detained for nearly 18 months.
Finally, along with this opportunity to make progress towards a sustainable peace, there is also a unique moment to address the threat posed to Yemen and the region by the Safer tanker. The UN’s procurement of a replacement vessel, the Nautica, was a critical step. The Nautica’s arrival in the Red Sea earlier this month marked another important milestone in the project’s implementation.
We commend UNDP and UN Resident Coordinator for Yemen, David Gressly for their efforts to address the very real and imminent threat posed by the Safer and look forward to the launch of the operation later this month.
While we celebrate this progress, the UN still needs to raise additional funds for this effort. We call on Member States to contribute and to encourage private sector and environmental groups to help close the funding gap so this critical operation can move forward.
In closing, Madam President, let me reiterate, that this is a hopeful moment for Yemen, a moment of opportunity. I would emphasize that hopeful moments like these are not guaranteed. And so, we continue to urge the parties to seize this moment, to come together, and to bring lasting peace to the people of Yemen.